Wednesday, March 26, 2008


As my latest reminder, I will fwd the attached document which spells out in a nutshell what we, in Mombasa and Coast Province at large, go through every single day.

The following was sent to me last week. It's such an irony that we're still living without water and instead of matters improving, they are deteriorating and NOBODY cares!

Please, read the attached word document to enlighten yourselves. Phyllis has done a great job. Well done and thank you!


-------- Original Message --------

Date: Thu, 20 Mar :55:27 +0300
From: Phyllis Muema
Reply-To: Phyllis Muema
Organization: Ujamaa Center



In 2006 a range of locally based stakeholders in Mombasa launched a Citizen Report Card (CRC) to obtain citizen’s experiences on water supply, sanitation and solid waste services. The CRC tool is used to provide feedback to public service agencies on the strengths and weaknesses of their work. CRC’s facilitate prioritization of reforms and corrective actions by drawing attention to the problems highlighted and also facilitate cross fertilization of ideas and approaches by identifying good practices. The current members of the Mombasa Water Consortium are a network of current members are Ujamaa Center, Illishe Trust, Coast Development Lobby Group, Women Network Center, Prepared Society, Coast Rights Forum, Action Aid, Likoni Easte, Mombasa Island estates, Environment Trust of Kenya, Consumer First Network, Kituo cha sheria, Rotary Club of Mombasa, Trace Kenya, Hope maintainers among others.


Unfortunately, as we commemorate the world water day, Mombasa city faces the following problems:

The consortium has been discussing with Mombasa Water and Sewerage Company, the Coast Water Board and the Municipal Council of Mombasa who are the institutions mandated to provide water, sewerage and sanitation services to the citizens of Mombasa and shared its concern over the following issues which were raised by Mombasa residents during the study.

Sanitation and Solid Waste Management

Dissatisfaction stands overall at 71% for solid waste services. People use a range of options, with burying and burning the rubbish at 51% and throwing the rubbish in the open the other. Indeed 54% of the poor throw their garbage in the open, whilst 63% of the non poor use independent private companies to collect garbage. Only 13% of the poor are accessing private providers.

Mombasa residents were aware of the assignment of Public Health officials in their area. It is clear that they have little impact on resident’s lives.

Collection of rubbish is poor with only 9% of those interviewed saying that were satisfied. An overwhelming 74% expressed dissatisfaction with the management of solid waste

Throwing the rubbish into an open area, drain or other place is the most widely used means of disposing rubbish (44%), followed by burning and burying of rubbish (38%). Nearly a third (32%) of respondents relied on collection by independent private companies; only 13% have the rubbish from household collected by the council. Thirty percent of respondents who expressed an opinion on pit latrine emptying services were satisfied—mostly the poor. A considerable 51% were dissatisfied, especially the non poor. There is a general overall dissatisfaction among all residents (73%) of the maintenance and management of the sewerage services, with the poor being more dissatisfied. Only 19% of the respondents expressed complete satisfaction with the non poor reporting a slightly higher level of satisfaction Given the dominant reliance on latrines by majority of residents, it is difficult for residents to adhere to the national or municipal bylaws in the short run; support measures are needed for affordable and hygienic latrine emptying.

The sewage system is characterized by a range of problems including flooding (49%), bad smells (47%), broken sewer mains (40%), raw sewage in the open (25%) and no mains sewer in areas (21%). The non poor reported more of flooding, broken main sewers and bad smells, while the poor experienced more of raw sewage in the open and absence of main sewers.

Only 22% said they were completely satisfied with the work of public health officers. Most residents in Mombasa are not aware of any public officials around their estates or the roles the officers are supposed to play. Only 5% of respondents are aware of any Public Health Officials assigned to their residential area. Among those less than (44%) indicated that public health officials oversee hygiene within the municipality, while 23% thought that the public health officers are supposed to keep the public places clean but do not.

Water Services

Mombasa residents access water through the main utility, the Mombasa Water and Sewerage Company, MOWASCO during normal times Mombasa residents access water services during scarcity. Both poor and non poor Mombasa residents report regular experiences of water scarcity from mains and kiosks. To cope, usage of kiosks by poor residents drops from 72% to 23% and citizens move to vendors from 5% usage to 34%. There is high reliance on alternative self supply amongst the poor and non poor in Mombasa. Residents supplement supply largely through protected wells. Some reliance is also on rain water, unprotected sources during normal times and increasing during times of scarcity. The service and distribution level to Mombasa residents is dominated at 70% by small scale redistributors. Most citizens access their water through kiosks and vendors. Only 27%, mostly the non poor have access to direct mains water in and around the home. The wide majority at over 70% of both the poor and non poor obtains their water via kiosks away from home. 65% of households report that adult women faced the responsibility to fetch water from sources away from home for domestic use. Furthermore with both men and women, collecting water away from home was encumbered by long queues, queue jumping, heckling and quarreling.

Based on citizen responses, certain access and reliability benchmarks set by the Water Services Regulatory Board are not achieved by the government appointed service agency for Mombasa city. Notably there is failure to achieve the benchmarks for hours of supply for those connected to mains. Disaggregating the results by levels of service shows that the benchmark is not achieved if access through kiosks is not included. Monitoring the benchmarks during various months in the year, reveals that the benchmark is not achieved during months of scarcity. Reliability of mains water is low and only 48% of all the mains users in Mombasa, reported having received water seven days a week during normal times.

During scarcity, most mains users in Mombasa reported getting water only three days a week. Hours of service are half of what is expected; out of a possible maximum of 168 hours of supply in a week, Mombasa citizens reported obtaining only 85 hours during normal times, dropping to 72 hours during scarcity. Furthermore 32% of those a directly connected to mains reported interruptions of 24 hours. 21% of the poor and 55% of the non poor have invested in storage tanks as a coping measure with capacities ranging from between 1,000 liters and 3,000 liters. The average storage for the poor is 4,380 liters whilst that of the non poor is 8,220 liters. 89% - 90% of residents rate the taste, smell and color of water acceptable during normal times however during scarcity acceptability of taste, smell and color drops to between 68% to 69%.

Despite reported high acceptability, 79% of Mombasa residents self treat mains water before drinking it using a range of shelf chemicals. Only 36% of those directly connected (reported at 27% of Mombasa residents) interacted with MOWASCO over the past year. Under 20% had received communication on service interruptions. 10% of those directly connected reported having been engaged in bribery with MOWASCO staff in accessing water services. Less than half, i.e. 43% reported satisfaction with their last interaction with MOWASCO staff regarding quality of customer service Bills are received monthly by 73% of Mombasa< residents Mombasa residents’ pay the bulk of their water costs to middle men.

The majority of residents are paying more per cubic meter than the minority 27% with direct mains connections. The latter are charged using the official tariff schedule which is significantly cheaper per cubic meter than kiosk and vendor services. The survey reveals hidden costs associated with household investment in storage tanks, water treatment and time spent accessing water outside of home through kiosks.


In order for the city of Mombasa to enjoy efficient and effective supply of water and improvement in the sanitation and solid waste services, we ask the Municipal Council of Mombasa to do the following:-


Review of Policies that affect the citizens e.g. one of the policy does not recognize latrines etc. Has the review been done? Are the citizens aware of any policy review process? Boreholes are being dug in the city and at times near septic tanks, is the Municipal Council’s Policy on this being adhered to? How does the council monitor the borehole digging yet this is not allowed in the policy?

Garbage collection – How is the garbage collected?

Is it treated? Private companies are doing garbage collection in most estates in Mombasa city, where are they dumping whatever they collect. Does the Municipal Council work closely with the private company to make sure uniform garbage collection is taking place in the whole city?

Municipal Council’s Garbage Fleet – There was a plan to buy 3 trucks with LATF money, has this been done? 24 hour shifts were to be introduced in garbage collection sector because of limited trucks, is this what is currently on the ground?

Public health officers – due to few officers has the municipal taken the initiative to use the retired officers to train the community on matters touching public health to ensure environmental safety? Public Health department are in charge of chlorinating wells in the city – Is this practice taking place? If yes, when were the wells lastly chlorinated?


Municipal Council’s house tenants pay full rent but they don’t get services like drainage of septic tanks which is the mandate of the Municipal yet they are charged sewerage fee in the water bills. What are the plans to cater for this issue which is affecting the consumers? Mombasa city get water bills yet no water in their taps – Why? Its been noted in Tudor that there is improvement of water supply but there is variation in the quality of the water, Monday, Wednesday and Friday clean water is supplied and on the rest of days the same pipes channels in salty water. Why this variation? How safe is the water? People/households near water kiosks do not get water yet Kiosks supply does flow continuously are the pipes different? Is water kiosk part of the supply plan?

Desalination would be a solution to the water problem in Mombasa and Coast as a whole, what does the company think of this process?


Citizens were informed of plans to rehabilitate water pumps and digging or putting in place new water pipes, what is the current position? What is the board doing to improve water supply in Mombasa. The board collects revenue in selling of the water to the water companies, how is this revenue spent? Civil Society Organization is represented in the Board of Directors of the Water Company, who seconded the person in the company?

There are three sewage treatment plants in Mombasa, what are their conditions? Are they working? Service Provision Contract, between the Board and Water Company – Is it known to the public?

Compliance of the contract Complaints Board – There is customer care component within the board, are the consumers aware of how to go about their water complains?



With Kind Regards
Phyllis Muema
website: http//

No comments: