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No more boreholes to be drilled, water table dropping, warns CS

Water Cabinet secretary Simon Chelugui has ordered Nairobi to stop drilling all bore holes, as they are competing for the water –
rom the same aquifier.
Speaking on Tuesday at the Kenya Water Training
Institute at South C, Chelugui said they will focus on
sustaining existing boreholes and investing in water
resources outside the county.
“To address and to sustain the few existing boreholes, you have to limit the number of boreholes per
area,” he said.
One licensing condition will be limiting the distance
from one borehole to another, a minimium of 800
metres,” Chelugui said.

The CS He said Nairobi’s Eastlands area has fewer
boreholes and geological surveys indicatee water
capacity is less than two or three cubic metres, unlike
those in the Western side of the city, Kileleshwa,
Karen and Upper Hill.
He said the the only works to be done will be repairing, maintaining and possibly replacing the existing boreholes.
“We have not exhausted [the water table] but we have
to make sure we manage and sustain the existing
boreholes,” the CS said.
In supplementary budget, funds for the water subsector were increased by Sh373.8 million.
Mihang’o MCA and Water committee chairman
Paul Kardos said the additional funds will take care
of the ward water projects, which include drilling
boreholes.
Water executive Larry Wambua said he will issue an
official communication.
Last month, the Office of the Governor advertised
a tender for water projects. Tender descriptions
included drilling and equipping of boreholes, water
extensions and sewer rehabilitation.
Wards that were to get boreholes were Njiru,
Maringo, Uthiru, Harambee, Mowlem, Mihang’o,
City Market and Umoja 2.
City director of water services Mario Kainga last
year said 22 boreholes had already been drilled in
Embakasi and 18 more would be drilled in other parts
of the city.
REDUCING BOREHOLES
In addition to over exploitation, CS Chelugui said
the biggest threat to underground water is pollution.
“We have to protect any water flowing underground,
that’s why we have to invest a lot in water management,” Chelugui explained.
Illegal drilling of boreholes is another problem, he
said.
The CS said that before a licence is issued to drill a
borehole, the Water Resource Management Authority
(WRMA) must get a letter of no objection from the
water service provider — the Nairobi City Water and
Sewerage Company.
Last year when the county faced severe drought and
shortage of water, the government started investing
in 100 boreholes to add water supply in the pipelines.
“WRMA is in charge of licensing and regulating boreholes. Those boreholes compete for the same aquifers underground, so we were forced to start rationing them 150 metres and 300 metres,” he said
He added, “Our boreholes will be good at 150 but
because of the number of boreholes that have been
licensed, we have been forced to close those aquifers to 300 metres.”
Last year, WRMA CEO Mohammed Shurie abruptly
and unilaterally suspended issuance of groundwater permits within Nairobi, Kiambu and Machakos
counties.
He said the recommended spacing between boreholes has been violated adding that over 7,000 boreholes exist.

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