State banks on public-private partnerships deals to meet universal access to clean water target


A woman fetches water at a borehole. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

The State has tabled a Bill to guide the implementation of the public-private partnerships (PPP) deals in provision of water, in an effort to speed up the ambitious target of ensuring universal access to clean water.

The Water (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to amend several sections in the current Act on Water, setting up the country for the first ever PPP projects to bridge a funding gap estimated at Sh500 billion that has derailed efforts to provide clean water.

The Bill comes less than a year after President William Ruto disclosed plans to bring aboard the private sector to fund the water projects and take off pressure on an already choking Exchequer.

The shift to PPP deals is critical to an Exchequer that has been struggling to meet ballooning debt servicing obligations, provide cash for development projects and transfers to county governments.

“The Bill proposes the amendment of Section 93 of the Act to provide that a contracting authority may enter into a public private partnership. This is for purposes of aligning the Water Act to the Public Private Partnerships Act,” the Bill reads in its memorandum.

The proposed law will amend the Water Act, 2016 and allow entities of the national and county governments to buy water in bulk from the private sector or ink deals with the firms to develop facilities such as dams.

Private water provision firms will sign bulk tariffs for supply of the water to the national and county governments that will then sell the commodity to homes, businesses and other institutions.

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