Proper water governance along the four dimensions of social, economic, political and environment is essential for growth and development of cities” said Eng. David Onyango, the Managing Director for Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company.

The MD was speaking during the opening day of the African Utility week that was held in Cape Town, South Africa. Eng. Onyango further said that access to water for many people is a daily struggle for survival particularly in cities of developing countries. Some of the reasons he cited that led to this are poor resource management, corruption, inappropriate institutional arrangements, insufficient human capacity and shortages of finance for investment.

In his opening statement, Eng. Onyango stated that 80% of the global GDP is generated in cities and the share is likely to rise as cities respond to urbanization. “Cities are generators of wealth and natural places for commercial exchange. Cities are big consumers of resources, water included. Proper governance of water to support economic and social development is therefore vital for growth of the cities, as we aspire to achieve the SDG,” he concluded.

The KIWASCO MD was also a panelist in the session addressing how utilities and municipalities are meeting competing demands for water. Here Eng. Onyango broadly classified his response in three dimensions of allocating, developing and conserving.

In allocating, he talked about granting various water rights to competing industries like Agriculture, trade, energy, environment and humans. Through water rights, access to conflict is lessened, equity is enhanced and institutional arrangement becomes well structured.

Speaking on developing, Eng. Onyango talked about creation of enough storage or complementary resources, Trans boundary diversion, treatment of waste water for possible re-use and boosting the human capacity.

The last dimension was on conserving which the MD highlighted on the integrated management practices which institutionalize stakeholder participation, awareness campaigns to reduce wastage, reducing NRW loss and using technology in predicting floods and droughts.