Chulu Valley Project is a community managed rural water social enterprise in Makueni county, Kenya. The organization provides water services, mainly safe water for drinking, but also partially for irrigation on kitchen garden and handwashing stations. The organization serves around 20,000- 25,000 customers through 14 community water kiosks and 106 piped metered connections. Water is pumped from a borehole at pumping capacity of 14.4 m3/hr, powered by solar panels during day time and with a generator at night. The water quality is good and chlorination is provided between the pumping station and the 150m³ reservoir tank.
During COVID-19 outbreak many people retuned to the village from bigger cities and the water project faced increased demand for water compared to the previous year. At the same time revenues decreased due to customer’s economic challenges, while operational costs increased. The increased demand for free water and accumulated negative cashflows started being a challenge 3 months down the line of the pandemics outbreak.
Consequently, Chulu had to cut down the cost of operation by closing a water kiosk and reduce the number of water kiosk workers.
Chulu Valley is receiving support from the Response Facility for Water and Sanitation to revive operations through improved financial management: control customer payments through smart water meters, introduction of a digital billing and cashless payment system. Additionally, 100 HH in the vicinity of existing pipelines will get the chance to get connected at subsidized rate (50%) to improve the water projects revenues and increase access. Extremely poor households will receive free water handouts, they get registered at the water kiosks and receive coupons for water refill.
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