Increasing Water Access in Busia County

By Treezer Michelle Atieno

In a move to reshape the narrative of water access in Busia County, the Mundika hybrid water system is seamlessly blending solar and electric power to ensure a continuous water supply for thousands of residents. Operationalized through a robust partnership between the World Bank, the Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP), and the visionary County Government, this Sh45 million project not only addresses the persistent issue of water scarcity but also pioneers a cost-effective approach to power consumption.

Picture this: a town where water scarcity once loomed as an ominous specter, exacerbated by erratic power cuts due to unpaid bills. The Mundika hybrid system, a brainchild of innovative collaboration and strategic planning, has ushered in a new era for residents who previously endured days without water. Powered by solar during the day and seamlessly transitioning to electricity at night, this system has become a beacon of reliability, ensuring that taps no longer run dry when the lights go out.

Davis and Shirtliff, synonymous with cutting-edge water solutions, took the helm of the Sh20 million hybrid system implementation. But Mundika’s transformative impact extends beyond ingenious water pumping solutions. A holistic approach unfolded as part of the project, encompassing the rehabilitation of water works, revenue automation, and the repair of damaged pipes for the Busia Water and Sewerage Services Company (BUWASSCO).

What sets the Mundika hybrid system apart is its strategic role in alleviating the county’s annual burden of approximately Sh300 million in electricity bills for water schemes. It’s not merely a water project; it’s a financial game-changer for Busia County. The Mundika initiative has proven so successful that it is now positioned as the blueprint for future endeavors, echoing the sentiment that the county’s forward-thinking leadership aims to cut costs without compromising essential services.

Initially catering to a modest 2,500 households, the Mundika project has far exceeded expectations, now catering to 7,500 households and meeting its initial design goals. The ripple effect of this expansion extends beyond sheer numbers, representing improved livelihoods and a testament to the adaptability and scalability of the hybrid approach.

While Sh20 million fueled the hybrid system’s implementation, an equivalent amount was channeled towards revenue automation for BUWASSCO. An additional Sh5 million was strategically invested in the repair and rehabilitation of damaged pipes within the service area.

The impact of the Mundika hybrid water system reverberates through communities, particularly in Matayos and Teso South Sub Counties within Busia Municipality. Approximately 65,000 people, constituting 7,500 households, now enjoy a consistent water supply, putting an end to the once-common experience of monthly bills exceeding Sh3 million. The County Government’s prudent financial management translates into a remarkable 50 per cent saving in bills paid to the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, freeing up resources for additional developmental projects.

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