Water Services Regulatory Board, Wasreb, conducts public participation in the tariff setting process in line with the requirements in the following articles in the Constitution 2010: 174(c) (d) and (e), 196 (1)(b) and 232(l)(d) and supported by Section 139 of the Water Act 2016.
Chapter 11 (CoK 2010) on devolved governments Section 174 (c) (d) and (e) put the role of public participation into perspective. It is meant;
(c) to give powers of self-governance to the people and enhance the participation of the people in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them;
(d) to recognise the right of communities to manage their own affairs and to further their development;
(e) to protect and promote the interests and rights of minorities
Section 139 of the Water Act 2016 stipulates that the designated person to undertake public consultation (in this case Wasreb), shall publish a notice in relation to the application or proposed action in mainstream media, state the premises at which the details of the application or proposed action may be inspected, invite written comments on or objections to the application, specify the person or body to which any such comments are to be submitted and specify a date not earlier than 30 days after publication of the notice by which any such comments are required be received. Wasreb is then required to hold a public meeting where such comments will be received.
Public participation seeks to ensure that the public, communities and organisations to be affected by a decision have a right to be consulted and involved in the decision and that public views are taken into consideration in decision making. This in turn promotes sustainable decisions that recognise the needs and interests of all participants including decision makers.
The public consultation is a multi – level process as per Wasreb’s Public Consultation guidelines which begins at the Water Service Provider (WSP) level and after the utility submits a report of proceedings of the public meeting, Wasreb embarks on the second level consultation. Before the regulator approves a tariff adjustment, each WSP is required to undertake a public consultation.
Main stakeholders and the public must be informed about the proposed tariff adjustment and allowed to give feedback to the WSP. The WSP is then required to document the process and submit a record of the proceedings to Wasreb. Wasreb’s role during the public consultation meeting is to emphasise on the need for financially sustainable WSPs.
In 2017, Wasreb participated in public consultations meetings for all WSPs under Coast Water Services Board (CWSB) including the Bulk supply system, that is, Mombasa, Kilifi-Mariakani, Tavevo, Kwale, Malindi and Lamu between 12th to 26th of May 2017. Wasreb has also been represented in the public consultation meeting of Gusii Water and Sanitation Company under Lake Victoria South Water Services Board (LVSWSB) on 24th November 2017 and in Kibwezi Makindu Water and Sanitation Company under the Tanathi Water Services Board (TAWSB) on 7th December 2017.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend these meetings once called upon in this new year 2018.