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By WINNIE ATIENO
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Mombasa County Assembly members have approved plans to desalinate seawater to help address an acute water shortage.

Majority Leader Hamisi Mwidani tabled a motion proposing the construction of two desalination plants as he urged the ward representatives to approve Governor Hassan Joho’s plans.

Mr Joho wants two international firms, from Spain and Switzerland, who won a tender to desalinate the Indian Ocean water, to sign an agreement.

Water and Natural Resources executive Fatma Awale did not reveal the cost of the project but said the plants would be producing at least 130,000 cubic metres of fresh water daily.

One plant will be based in north mainland (Nyali or Kisauni) and the other in the south (Likoni).

The assembly also allowed Mr Joho to source for a bank guarantee to support the financing and construction of the two plants.

“I urge this assembly to resolve that the county government of Mombasa through the department of Water and Natural Resources be allowed to source for a bank guarantee to support the above,” Mr Mwidani said.

The county said it requires 186,000 cubic meters of water daily for steady supply to residents and industries.

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However, the county has been experiencing acute shortages due to reduction of supply from Baricho Dam in Kilifi, Mzima Springs in Taita-Taveta and Marere Springs in Kwale.

Mombasa lacks a fresh water source. The supply from Mzima Springs has been declining leading to residents, industries and businesses to contend with dry taps for months.

Mr Mwidani urged the assembly to allow the county to borrow funds to address the water problem.

“The residents have been negatively affected by the lack of clean and safe drinking water for domestic use and also for industrial development. They are living in compromising, unhealthy and unsustainable conditions,” the ward representative warned.

The MCA said the county is charged with the responsibility of policy formulation, implementation, administration, operation and maintenance for all matters that are related to the provision of potable water.

According to the assembly, the issue of the provision of water in the Coast region has historically been a contentious issue.



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