Located in Dalalekutuk Ward of Kajiado County, Ngatu Shopping Center was faced with challenges of water access as is the case across many other parts of the County. Kajiado receives minimal rainfall and is characterised by cyclical episodes of prolonged drought that exacerbate the water situation.
As a result, rain-fed water sources such as earth dams, roof catchments and scoop holes dry up in the dry season and therefore cannot meet the water needs of the community. Through the County Government of Kajiado, the community of Dalalekutuk drilled the Elerai borehole in 2012 with a view to providing sustainable safe water for both economic and domestic use. However, after its establishment, the borehole faced numerous management challenges ranging from poor water revenue collection, lack of transparency, non-revenue water losses, poor operations and maintenance which affected its overall sustainability. The borehole broke down after one year of operation and the community was not able to repair it.
To address these challenges, Amref Health Africa in collaboration with the County government repaired the borehole and proposed the installation of a pre -paid meter system.
How the pre-paid system works
Water is pumped from the rehabilitated borehole to a tank and gravitated to various water access points. These include the water kiosk (communal water points) and a nearby school each fitted with digital prepaid water meters.
The water kiosk is an automated water access point (water teller machine) from which community members draw water any at time of day. Each household is provided with a water access tag which is electronically preloaded with water tokens with the help of a ‘shop hub operator’. The water users make payments at the shop hub where a ‘master water access tag’ is used to recharge user’ tags with tokens. All revenues received at the shop hub are channelled to a joint bank account operated by the Water Management Committee (WMC) and the system administrator (Amref Health Africa). Water usage by each tag is monitored by automated software, which accounts for both water usage and revenues collected on daily basis.
Through the Water Management Committee (WMC) a total of 150 water access tags had been bought as at February 2017, which the community members currently use to draw water from the water kiosk. The tag holders consist of households who use the tags to draw water purely for their household needs. Water vendors also draw water from the kiosk and sell it to households located further away from the kiosk.
According to the water operator David Tajeu, the system functions well and has not only brought the community together, but also helped them access clean water. “If one cannot afford to buy the tag holder that goes for Kshs 500, they can borrow it from the operator or from a friend,” he said.
Water from the kiosk serves four villages with a total population of 1728 people (Ngatu A 600; Ngatu B 303; Esilale 428; Eiti 397).
From the central reservoir, the water is also piped to Ngatu Primary School which has a total population of 523 pupils (261 boys, girls 262) and 12 teachers.
This has reduced the average distance to a water source, women and children have been freed from walking long distances to fetch water.
Water and Revenues
Since the system became functional in February 2017, a total of 1,342,567 litres of water have been drawn from the borehole and fully accounted for. Total revenues generated from the water as at November 2017 is Kshs 347,670. The borehole broke down twice and was fixed within 48 hours
The revenues were allocated as follows: Community -45%; Maintenance -35%; operational costs-20% (shop hub attendant fee, transaction charges, SUSTEQ system maintenance) .
Amref Health Africa in Kenya through its Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Neglected Tropical Disease (WASH and NTDs) programme is committed to make safe and affordable drinking water, hygiene and sanitation a reality for all. This is heavily driven by the stimulation of innovations and working models that effectively contribute to inclusive scale of WASH services.
This article first appeared here: https://amref.org/news/applying-social-enterprise-approach-sustainable-wash-solutions/.