Water rationing to continue for five more years

A water bowser supplies clean water along Kimathi Street on January 14, 2017. Photo | Jeff Angote | NMG
A water bowser supplies clean water along Kimathi Street on January 14, 2017. Photo | Jeff Angote | NMG 

There is no respite in sight for Nairobi County's over 4 million residents as water rationing is set to continue until 2023.

This was confirmed by Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company acting managing director, Eng. Nahashon Muguna, who said that Ndakaini dam’s storage has fallen by 49 per cent to 34 million cubic metres resulting in supplies to Nairobi being lower than demand.

“Water rationing is set to continue until that time when the dams we are currently building are complete, which according to the master plan...will be done by 2026. Thereafter we shall be having enough water and surplus to take us up to 2035,” said Mr Muguna.

The situation has forced the firm to ration water through the equitable distribution programme to ensure every customer gets the precious resource, though authorities are optimistic that the county will have enough water by 2026.

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

“We are supplying the city with 525,000 cubic metres of water a day against a demand of 760,000 cubic metres a day but we are working with the national government to come up with measures to ensure that the county gets sufficient water through both long term and short-term mechanism,” he said.

He was speaking when he appeared before the Nairobi County Assembly Water and Sanitation Committee led by chairman and Mihango Ward MCA, Paul Kados, on Thursday where he was tasked to explain when the urban water company would stop water rationing that started in January 2017.

Sufficient supply

In his defence, Eng Muguna said that both county and national governments have measures in place to ensure that water supply to the city is sufficient.

He stated that on short-term basis, the county was banking on the Northern Water collector tunnel project, which is slated to be completed by 2020 and that would boost the city with an additional 140,000 cubic litres.

“Once the project is completed, we will raise the supply of water in the county to 665,000 cubic litres a day up from the normal supply of 525,000 litres,” he said.

He told the committee that ongoing construction of two more dams will boost water supply by 60,000 cubic litres a day by 2020.

“Ongoing construction of Karimeno dam, which will be able to have a capacity of 70,000 litres, will be used in the satellite town of Kiambu and the remnant of 23,000 per day supplied to us while Ruiru dam too will supply 30,000 litres to us,” said the MD.

Water rationing in the capital has been ongoing for over a year now, forcing Nairobi residents to dig deeper into their pockets to buy the commodity from vendors who charge between Sh20 and Sh50 per jerrican.

Amid the acute shortage, the city also faced a cholera outbreak that has been connected to deteriorating hygiene practices caused by scarcity of the resource.

In 2017, the national government and Nairobi County had announced an ambitious Sh200 million plan to sink 40 boreholes to mitigate the water crisis in the city although the fruits of the project are yet to be seen.