Water parastatal going solar to avoid huge power bills

Coast Water Services Board offices in Mombasa. Photo | Kevin Odit | NMG
Coast Water Services Board offices in Mombasa. Photo | Kevin Odit | NMG 

The Coast Water Services Board (CWSB) plans to use solar power to pump water as it seeks to steer clear of paying millions of shillings every month for electricity.

The parastatal's search for a cheaper alternative power source comes as it aims to provide more water to Coast residents have been affected by poor supply of the precious commodity.

“We have decided to look for an alternative power which is friendly and we found out that the use of sun energy serves the best. Currently we are in the process of shortlisting the suitable firms who have shown interest,” CWSB chief executive officer Jacob Torutt said while revealing that 11 firms have expressed interest in carrying out the ambitious project.

The parastatal’s plan will be carried out via a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Mr Torutt said that due to unreliability of power supply, the utility firm has had to halt pumping water resulting in erratic supply to residents.

“We have also been forced to pay huge bills for the supply. For instance, we pay Sh35 million every month for water that we get from Baricho Dam and Sh5 million to Mzima Springs,” he said today.

CWSB technical manager, Martin Tsuma, said international firms from China, Italy, Germany, South Africa and Brazil have shown interest in carrying out the project.

“The expression of interest was done four months ago. We will do the shortlisting and remain with six of those firms...majority are international ones. We will also include wind power and use of power generators as we work on the design,” he said.

Mr Tsuma said the project will be split into phases.

“We will start with Baricho then move to Tiwi which does major pumping of the commodity. We are going to work on the design and then go ahead to give the request for proposals before we proceed with the process.”