Water bills in Kenya are set to rise after the government raised regulatory charges on water companies by ten times. The raised regulatory charges are in line with regulations from the World Bank which the government has agreed to. The regulations which were published by the Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki have raised user charges from 50 cents per cubic metre to Sh. 5 for domestic use and livestock farming. In addition, water companies will be required to top up five percent of the charges as conservation levy.
“A person in possession of a valid water use permit or who is required to have a valid permit for water use shall pay in addition to the water use charge… a levy amounting to five percent of the monthly water use charge as a water conservation levy,” the new regulations say.
The regulations have also given power to the Water Resource Authority’s (WRA) to review the charges annually.
“The Authority [WRA] shall adjust the water use charges annually to give effect to indexation by reference to the officially published annual inflation index,” the regulations say.
The new regulations are salt added on the wound for consumers who have been grappling with a rising cost of living. For instance, prior to the new charges, the WRA, which allocates water use and controls pollution, was charging 50 cents per cubic metre for water for homes, livestock, and irrigation, while commercial use attracted a charge of 75 cents for use over 300 cubic metres. The authority will now charge Sh. 2 per cubic metre for irrigation while commercial use will attract a charge of Sh. 6 for use over 300 cubic metres a day. Kenyans pay an average of Sh. 93 per cubic metre or 1,000 litres for water piped to homes, in addition to other levies.
One of the executives at the Water Services Regulatory Board (WSRB), which approves new tariffs, was quoted by a local daily saying that the government had erred in stamping the extra charges on homes.
“I am surprised that producing hydropower below 1 megawatt is free yet they want to charge Sh. 5 for home use. Nairobi Water which produces 500,000 cubic metres a day will now be required to pay Sh. 2.5 million up from Sh. 250,000, where do we expect them to get that?” the daily quoted the executive as saying.