Sonko blames leaky pipes, poor storage for water shortage in slums

Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko. File Photo | Jeff Angote | NMG
Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko. File Photo | Jeff Angote | NMG 

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has said that nearly half a million households in the city's informal settlements have no access to water, or the water available is insufficient to meet their basic needs.

He noted that the situation is caused by water being lost through leaking pipes and poor storage, saying this had created an ever-growing deficit where water supply in Nairobi has never matched its population growth.

“My administration is committed to providing safe water to all the residents of Nairobi. In order to achieve this, we are working towards cutting water losses so that we can ensure supply to all households, especially the poor in the informal sector,” Mr Sonko said Wednesday during an ongoing Nairobi County Water and Sanitation workshop in Mombasa.

He added that the majority of those living in slums do have enough money to buy water even when supplies exist, adding that water sold to poorer areas is more expensive than in more affluent suburbs.

Seal loopholes

The City Hall boss says his administration is working towards addressing the disparity, adding that they were also looking at sealing loopholes where nearly half of water distributed in the city is lost through non-billing theft.

“This is in line with my vision of a clean, beautiful and healthy city where water is safe, accessible, affordable and regular. Nearly half of the water distributed through the system is non-revenue water,” he said.

Mr Sonko also pointed out that water and sanitation is one of the key development pillars for the devolved unit and in that line, had set in motion a process to review the proposed Water and Sanitation Policy and Bill for Nairobi County.

The proposed law will be harmonised with the National Government’s Water Act, 2016 and will also be in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 6.

“This is anticipated to culminate into enactment of Nairobi City County Water and Sanitation Policy and Bill that will provide policy and legislative framework for delivery of water and sanitation service within Nairobi.

“I appeal to all citizens of goodwill to support this legislative process that will promote access to safe water and sanitation services to all residents of Nairobi,” said the governor.


But even as the county works towards ensuring every resident of Nairobi receives clean drinking water, there are fears of a new rationing programme returning to the city as the reservoirs holding supplies continue to drop.

Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company acting managing director, Nahashon Muguna, yesterday said Thika dam’s storage had fallen by 49 per cent to 34 million cubic metres resulting in less water being supplied to Nairobi.

Thika dam produces 430,000 cubic metres of water a day, which is about 84 per cent of water supply to Nairobi residents and holds about 70,000,000 cubic metres at full storage.

Mr Muguna said that the situation has forced them to ration water through the equitable distribution programme to ensure every customer gets the precious commodity.

However, he is optimistic that the April rains would restore normalcy.

“We are supplying the city with 505,000 cubic metres of water a day, against a demand of 760,000 cubic metres a day and we will continue producing the same volume of water until the onset of the April long rains,” he said.