KNA Residents of Madogo in Tana River county have been warned against illegally connecting water to their homes and other premises.
Speaking in Madogo after a daylong meeting with water stakeholders, the county director of water Felix Mumba said that a crackdown on all illegal connections will start this week and those found culpable will be charged in court.
Mumba however gave a reprieve for those who will visit the Tana Water and Sewerage (TAWASCO) offices and regularize their connections.
“We are embarking on this crackdown tomorrow. Those who knowingly or unknowingly connected water from the company’s pipeline should visit our offices in Madogo and register before we catch up with them,” Mumba said.
The director said that the water company has over the years accumulated over Sh 40 million in electricity bills due to the illegal connections and spillage.
He said the county government of Tana river will this financial year overhaul the piping system of the entire town and improve on the boreholes capacity to pump more water to the main storage tank in Madogo in order to ensure reliable water to the residents.
Mumba revealed that the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) had promised to release Sh 2 billion allocated to Tana River county from the equalization fund to improve urban water supply and that Madogo will be given first priority.
“Madogo is one of fastest growing urban centres in Tana River. Demand for water has almost tripled over the past 10 years. Our piping system and boreholes cannot sustain this demand,” Mumba noted.
“We have an elaborate plan to ensure that consumers in our major urban centres get enough and reliable water supply,” he added.
On his part, TAWASCO Managing Director William Jilo urged Madogo to pay their water bills on time and only use pay bill provided at area offices.
Jilo assured the residents that erratic water supply to the town is being addressed and they should support all efforts to streamline and reform the sector.
“There have been resistance on transfers of staff, disconnection of illegal water connections and none payment of Bills. Some of our staff members are involved. We have the support of the local administration and the police and we believe we shall succeed, ” Jilo said.
“Without the support of the locals, we may not go far,” he added.
There were mixed reactions by stakeholders on whether staff at the Madogo sub-office should be transferred or not following complaints of incompetence.
Those in support of the transfers said corruption, nepotism and tribalism are deep rooted at the office and the only remedy is to transfer all the staff. Those against blamed TAWASCO head office in Hola for promoting the vices.
“Almost all staff members are on casual terms including the manager. Their bosses in Hola are using divide and rule tactics in order to cover their corrupt practice and in the process promote nepotism and tribalism at the Madogo office,” said one of residents, Juma Hassan.
“The problem is with the Hola office and until we fix it, the problem of water will in Madogo will never be resolved,” he added.