Mutitu Water Project

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To bring water into the homes of 250 poor families, fulfilling a dream begun almost 15 years ago? This became only a small part of the objective of the Mutitu Water Project, the great aqueduct wanted by the people living in an area of about 100 square kilometres which straddles the districts of Nyeri, Nyandura and Laikipia in central Kenya, organized around the Catholic parish of Mugunda. In 1996, after polluted water sources caused yet another typhus epidemic, studies began on the possibility of building an aqueduct to take advantage of the river Makirwaki in the nearby Nyandarua National Park. The Mutitu Water Project was born. (“Mutitu” means “forest” in Swahili). It is a large rural hydraulic project co-ordinated by the Italian missionary Father Romano Filippi which originally was intended to provide only the local community with water for domestic use, for animal husbandry and for the cultivation of a vegetable garden of 500 square metres.

Today, almost 11 years since the start of work, 25 cisterns and 130 functioning lines have been laid down, with a total length of over 350 kilometres. Along the lines about 1,500 distribution points have been installed, including 94 communal water points, 48 connections to public buildings and over 1,300 connections to private dwellings, all of which ensure a continual water supply to about 14,000 people. The last 24 main lines, to which Cesvitem contributed, were completed in 2008. Since then the Mutitu Water Project has been paying for itself in full thanks to connection fees paid by private citizens, to the revenue from water charges and to the voluntary labour donated by people associated with it (156,000 workdays alone for the hand-excavation of the channels).

Right now, about 1,700 families living in the region served by Mutitu are awaiting connection to the aqueduct. The management committee classifies 500 of these families as too impoverished to be able to pay the (equivalent) 300 euros connection fee. The committee’s current plan provides for the connection of 250 of these families, by way of covering the connection fee. Once connection work has been carried out, the benefiting families become responsible for paying the monthly water charge.