Friday, October 2, 2009
October 2, 2009 Muchemi Wachira, Casper Waithaka and Kenneth Ogosia
Nairobi has tightened water rationing following declining dam levels. At Ndakaini Dam, which is the main source for Nairobi, water levels have been going down by five centimetres a day. “This has forced us to revise our water rationing programme,” said Mr Mbaruku Vyakweli, the Nairobi Water Company (NWC) communications manager. Water rationing in the city started early last month. This was after water levels at the dam drastically declined owing to poor rains in the Aberdare region.
Sasumwa Dam, the other source that also relies on rivers originating from the same area, has been undergoing construction. It is expected to be complete by October this year. With the revised rationing programme, Mr Vyakweli said city residents will suffer more. NWC will, however, try to do everything possible to alleviate the problem, he added.
This year, many Nairobi residents have been relying on water from boreholes (wells). And it is usually delivered to them by owners of browsers and cart pullers, who sell the commodity at an exorbitant price. Owing to the acute shortage of the commodity, some water-borne diseases have been reported in Embakasi and Ongata Rongai estates.
Residents of Doonholm and Greenfields estates in Nairobi’s Eastlands area are among those most affected by the water shortage. They have been getting water only on Sundays. This has raised fears of a cholera outbreak. “And the water is not enough since it only comes for a few hours. So we are forced to buy water for the whole week,” said Catherine, who lives in the area.
Another Doonholm resident, Ms Peres Nelima, said: “We wake up as early as 4am to look for water from vendors and distant kiosks while the water company continues to charge us.” Residents usually scramble for the commodity whenever they find it. “What is happening is that the transmission supply for the two estates, which is in Gigiri, has been interfered with and so there is very low water pressure,” said Mr Vyakweli, adding that they were working to restore the supply line.
An official of the water firm who declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the press said some unscrupulous people had diverted water lines for illegal use. “Hands of powerful people came back to haunt us, especially before the mayoral elections. Rich people sponsoring the candidates took advantage and destroyed our rationing programme by diverting water to their kiosks,” he said
Posted by CROSSROADS AFRICA EXPEDITIONS at 12:13 PM