Costly water in city as rationing set to intensify

A water vendor in Kaloleni, Nairobi. photo | dennis onsongo
A water vendor in Kaloleni, Nairobi. photo | dennis onsongo 

Nairobi residents will continue to spend more on water as the utility provider signalled increased rationing after the levels at main reservoir Ndakaini Dam dropped to an all-time low.

Intensified rationing of the commodity by the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) will see households dig deeper into their pockets as they seek expensive water from private vendors.

Vendors charge Sh20 or higher for 20 litres of water or 0.02 cubic meter, reaping a huge profit from the supply shortage.

This is compared Sh53 per 1,000 litres charged by the NCWSC for those consuming less than 60,000 litres monthly — consumption segment that covers the majority of the city’s households.

“In anticipation of the rains we would like to inform our customers that the Ndakaini dam has now reached an all-time low at 21 per cent.

“However, we continue to supply the available water through the rationing programme and assure residents that we are supplying at the optimal level,” said the NCWS.

The water company started rationing in January due to depressed water levels at the Ndakaini dam in Murang’a County – the main water source for the city.

It was expected that long rains starting late March would lift water levels at the dams and ease the rationing. However, the heavy rains have delayed and left around 2.7 million people in need of food aid after dry spell in October and November.

Water scarcity last month forced Kenyan flower firm, Primarosa Flowers, to stop operations at its Athi-River base and relocate to its Nyahururu farm. The firm said it had become unsustainable to rely on water from private vendors.