The residents of Nairobi have been grappling with perennial water shortages even after the long rains started late April this year, the situation has not improved leaving the residents in the hands of water vendors who charge as high as Sh50 per 20-litre container.
Some of the worst-hit estates are Lang’ata, Umoja, Githurai 44 and Zimmerman. Others are Roysambu, Mirema, Zimmermann, Embakasi and Kahawa West.
The water rationing programme begun in January 2017 and it’s on third year now. The residents only access clean tap water for a few hours per week, forcing them to rely on vendors who mercilessly exploit them as result of the scarcity.
Water Kenya has observed the number of water-vending trucks skyrocketing consistently, raising concerns whether some unscrupulous water company managers could be deliberately causing artificial shortages to benefit from selling water through vendors.
Speaking to Water Kenya, one of the residents Martin Munene complained to the City Hall urging the county government of Nairobi that is led by governor Sonko to address the problem as soon as possible.
“It is not clear why we have a shortage yet there has been rain lately. The situation is worse than when City Hall initially announced that there would be water rationing,” he remarked.
A spot check by our reporters indicated that most slums and estates including Mukuru Kwa Njenga and Githurai 44 in Nairobi have been hit by this problem raising risks of spreading of waterborne diseases such as Cholera and typhoid.
The severe shortage comes only one month after some Cholera cases were reported in the Capital city.
For instance, Githurai 44 residents get tap water on Tuesdays and Thursdays for only about 20 minutes each day.
In Umoja II, the residents have raised their concerns to the authorities but says nothing has been done.
“We have been getting water only for two days per week, in trickles, yet the water company still levies the standing charge of Sh400 per month whether the water comes or not,” said Micheal Mulomba. “There is also a penalty of Sh1,000 if you fail to pay the charge on time”.
At the time we were going to press, our reliable sources confirmed the situation is worse in Lang’ata as the county can only supply 30 percent of the water needs of residents.
“Last week they let the water run for only 20 minutes at low pressure. This cannot even fill three jerrycans and yet we have clothes and children to wash and we also have to cook,” another resident said.
Rationing to continue
The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) acting Managing Director Nahashon Muguna has said water rationing will continue since the demand and supply gap is still huge.
However, he downplayed the claims that the condition is getting worse saying that things are not as bad as some consumers claim.
NCWSC provides a maximum of 526,000 cubic metres of water daily against the requisite demand of 790,000 cubic metres, per day. The demand is estimated to increase by 20,000 cubic metres per year.
According to Mr. Muguna the agency has harvested only 500,000 cubic metres since the rain started. “The estates have been getting water, but some residents expect to get it every day, which is not possible as we have to ration. Even after completion of the Northern Collector Tunnel the shortage will still continue,” he added.
He refuted the claims that residents were being overcharged even when they did not receive any water, where he revealed that the only mandatory charge they impose is a disconnection fee of Sh1,000.