Lodwar town residents are grappling with water shortage after the local water company failed to pay an electricity bill of Sh11 million leading to a disconnection of power.
For more than a week, residents have been forced to contend with dry taps with many relying on scoop holes in Kawalase and Turkwel rivers for water.
Mr Ramadhan Locheria, a resident of Nakwamekwi village, said that the situation was worsening and it was now costly to access clean water at Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company (Lowasco) field office near Moi Garden Grounds.
"My home is located 12 kilometres from the field office. I spend at least Sh250 a day to hire a boda boda and buy water at Sh10 for a 20-litre jerrican, money that I should save or buy food for my family," lamented Mr Locheria.
He said that the issue was serious and the county department of water should take responsibility.
"We have never had sufficient supply of water in all parts of Lodwar Municipality and it is now shameful that the company's own mistake is exposing us to misery," he said.
Mr Prophet Lokosi said that traders within Lodwar town had been warned by Turkana Central Sub County Security Committee not to operate businesses without hand-washing points in their premises as part of measures to control the spread of Covid-19.
He said the current situation was an emergency and that the county government should deliver water in bowsers daily to shops, health facilities and hotels.
"How can such a huge electricity bill accrue and yet the company has not complained that as customers we are not paying our bills. The top management of Lowasco should step aside for investigation over embezzlement of public funds," he said.
When contacted, Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro who doubles up as the County Water Executive promised that the devolved unit will fast-track payment of pending power bills owed to Kenya Power to resolve the dire situation.
Mr Lotethiro ordered the water company, the county department of water and the County Treasury to hasten payment an initial Sh5.4 million before June.
"The water crisis in Lodwar is unacceptable. All responsible individuals should work round the clock to ensure water supply is back on track," the Deputy Governor said.
He noted that public outcry over the crisis could not be ignored, stating that the County Government needed to remain sensitive to the plight of residents of Turkana, especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic where hygiene is critical.
For efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, Mr Lotethiro ordered the water company to pay Sh1 million monthly to Kenya Power as well as ensure the integrity of all its officers in collecting charges from water trucks and users.
Kenya Power's County Business Manager Damaris Akal promised that power connection to the water systems will be restored once the commitments agreed are delivered.
At the same time, it emerged that delays by National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority (NWHSA) to deliver on Sh72 million Napuu Water Project to provide water to 10,000 people within Lodwar Municipality was also compounding the problem.
From the discovered water aquifer, NWHSA is expected to work on a water pipeline and an elevated tank to serve the targeted residents in places such as Narewa, Turkana University College, Kanamkemer Sub-County Hospital, Lokitela and Ekaales.