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Pro-Poor Initiatives


Water service to the urban poor is a major challenge to political leaders, regulators and managers. NAWASSCO’s pro-poor section through its commercial department identifies various technologies; a mix of yard taps, public water points (with and without pre-paid meters) as alternatives to deal with the growing population to be served and determine investment requirements.

The three investment scenarios have different implications for improving water access to over 220,000 citizens in in the urban low income areas of Nakuru. One component, pre-paid water meters, promotes social and institutional equity.  If procedural justice is given as much weight as distributive justice in the selection of pro-poor programs, pre-paid meters (the ultimate cost recovery tool) can have a place in the investment plan.

Financial considerations cannot be wished away when seeking effective strategies for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and or Strategic Millennium Development Goals.

Public Utilities role is primarily to serve the poor or venerable members of the society. As a public utility, NAWASSCO has a social mission to serve the poor. This is a recognition or acceptance of the goal of distributive justice. The question is how to achieve access in a timely manner as service delayed is service denied. The utility has made efforts to connect and serve the poor more effectively (e.g. establishing the pre-poor unit, soliciting pro-poor donor programs) and currently serves over 200,000 people of the 42 low income areas as mapped by WSTF under majidata. But the utility does not have strong financial capacity to build new connections for the growing urban poor population without external funding.

First and foremost, many of these consumers buy water from the utility at the “social tariff” which only covers Operation & Maintenance (O&M) costs (that is pre-paid metering, water kiosks as well as yard taps shared by multiple families qualify for this lower tariff).

Secondly, the amount of water consumed per capita by the poor is very low, so a mark-up over O&M would not contribute much to covering investment costs.

Thirdly, because the poor have less consistent payment behaviour, this problem would require some additional cost to maintain NAWASSCO’s strong collection record (e.g. investment in pre-payment meters).

Therefore, NAWASSCO’s pro-poor section endeavours to continue seeking for development partners to support the company connect its poorest customers to the water supply network. Through yard taps and water kiosks-some of which will involve pre-paid meters, NAWASSCO expects to reach close to full service coverage of its area of