Plan to increase Nairobi water bills is ill-timed

The plan to increase water bills for Nairobi homes and businesses by up to 40 percent is harsh, especially for residents who continue to endure erratic supply from the service provider.

Yes, we understand that the cost of maintaining the city’s mammoth water supply system is high. But the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) cannot bill for water when consumers experience erratic supply, forcing them to buy from borehole distributors.

Also, it should not impose such a high percentage increase. The most affected by the tariff review increase will be the middle to low-income neighbourhoods where water shutoffs are common.

This is the same group bearing the brunt of the high cost of living as kerosene, cooking oil, and maize flour become luxuries in some households. Kenyans can hardly afford any rise in the cost of any basic good or service.

Let the Nairobi Metropolitan Service first expand the borehole projects to middle-income areas to supplement water supply and reduce the cost.

High-end homes that use up 55,000 litres monthly to support facilities like swimming pools and watering lawns are expected to pay Sh6,922 from Sh4,952.

Water recycling for toilet flushing and lawns should be part of the strategy to ensure the limited resource is channelled to kitchens, schools, and hospitals. Let the government enforce waste-to-clean water recycling systems.

In addition, it would be of no benefit to Kenyans if they pay a higher amount in water bills but greedy officials steal the money. A report by the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) shows that the water sector is adversely affected by poor governance and inequity.

Bribing the disconnecting person, the billing officer, and the water supply person rank among the top graft cases. The officials also steal millions of shillings, denying Kenyans the necessary development in water infrastructure. There are also rampant cases of supplying pipes outside the width and tensile strength.

Before any increase is implemented, let NCWSC put its house in order.

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