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KIWASCO experience in the water safety planning development and implementation, and the significance of the F&D DSS tool in the implementation process

Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, sits on the shores of the world’s second largest fresh water lake, Lake Victoria. According to Kenyan law, Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company Limited (KIWASCO) is mandated to supply water to its residents of this city. We are also sited within the wider Lake Victoria Basin and closer home in Nyando drainage basin. Water supply is critical to human lives and its socio-economic activities. With the harsh reality of climate change sinking home, we observe unpredictable and erratic weather patterns, hence the need for structured approaches to decision making.

Written by George Odero, Joshua Oria and Eng. David Onyango


KIWASCO experience in the water safety planning development and implementation, and the significance of the F&D DSS tool in the implementation process

In 2012, KIWASCO signed the Water Operator Partnership (WOP) with National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC, Uganda Jinja area) and Mwanza Urban Water and Sanitation Authority (MWAUWASA, Tanzania) for a period of 18 months. The main objective of the WOP was to develop a Water Safety Plan for the utilities and to provide peer to peer support along the process.. This was supported by the International Water Association (IWA), that provided technical backstopping, facilitation of site visits to exchange ideas and experiences. Moreover the IWA organized trainings on the development and implementation of the WSP.

We successfully developed the WSP in our utility using the WHO manual and we are currently going through the implementation phase. Some of the highlights of the development process included site visits aimed at carrying out a risk assessment  for  each stage of the water supply system, from the collection (at the catchment level) to the distribution of water to the consumers. The process was very tedious and cumbersome but it was carried out  diligently to guarantee a proper planning process.

Another challenging issue was  to actively engage the stakeholders in the development of the WSP. It was necessary to organize forums to raise awareness among them and finally get their support. Once there was stakeholder buy-in, the process ran smoothly. Sensitization of all KIWASCO staff on the process and sharing of the contents of the WSP documents is also a challenge. This is due to the cumbersome process of flipping through all the tables in the WSP documents to follow the identified hazards and how they should be dealt with.

On May 14-15, 2015, a WSP Audit, facilitated by IWA, was conducted on the development and implementation of the WSP for all the utilities in the WOP. This further assisted us in the implementation process.  It also highlighted some issues, which if addressed will make the implementation process better and the process tracking of progress easier.

These are some of the issues that the Flood and Drought project can help us to address. The program will enable us to work with other stakeholders to address issues of flood and drought in our basin that has negative impacts on our operational processes. The Decision Support System that is being developed shall make tracking of progress of the implementation easy. It is expected to simplify the WSP documentation process and make it simple for all to understand, thereby making the implementation process easier. We also expect to use it to plan better for the consequences of the floods and drought that directly affects our process for stability in operations thus enhancing customer satisfaction.

Pictorials for some of the common challenges.

1. Plant location: Prone to water quality changes due to surrounding environs

2. Fluctuating Lake Levels: Impacting on water quality and availability

3. Access road failure due to floods