Over 900 homes left high and dry as county water wars rage
Firm disconnects water supply to consumers who heeded governor’s order not to pay bills
When two bulls fight, the grass bears the brunt. This phrase best describes the impact of ongoing wars between Governor Mwangi wa Iria and the management of Murang'a firms that supply water to close to 10,000 people.
At least 900 households do not have running water in their taps, thanks to the tug-of-war between the executive and water companies over payment of bills.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria recently issued an executive order to water consumers not to pay their water bills to Murang'a Water and Sanitation Company until his administration announces a new account to settle the bills in.
But the water companies, in protest, disconnected water to consumers who did not pay their bills at the set deadlines.
Mr Francis Kamau said he has had to fetch water from a borehole in Migingo, about three kilometres away, since Muwasco disconnected his water supply.
The father of four said he cannot afford to pay water vendors, adding that he does not have Sh5,000 that Muwasco is demanding for reconnection. “I have to pay boda boda riders to fetch water for me,” he said, adding that he fears his children could contract diseases from untreated water.
Some of his neighbours said they were now doing their laundry on the banks of seasonal rivers.
Nominated County Assembly Member Habire Chege said neighbours are helping him fetch water after his supply was disconnected by Muwasco for failing to pay bills. The MCA said he is incurring extra costs, noting that he is paying for both transport and water.
"The governor is in charge of water since it is a devolved function. But a few individuals have exposed us to suffering. We are waiting for our water to be reconnected by the county boss. We will not be cowed by Muwasco," he maintained.
A spot check by the established that a section of Mjini residents and parts of Mukuyu have no access to water after the supply was disconnected. Many residents are using untreated water and trekking long distances to fetch it.
While justifying his orders, the county boss said he had not contracted water companies to collect revenue on behalf of the county, adding that his administration would inform subscribers of a new account to pay their water bills.
County officials impound motorcycles and cars belonging to Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company during the ongoing tug-of-war between water firms and Governor Mwangi wa Iria.