Freeze to ease water squeeze

October 3, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, October 3 – The government plans to disconnect all communal water schemes on the main pipeline routes feeding into Nairobi to increase the amount of water reaching the capital.

In a raft of measures announced by Water Minister Charity Ngilu on Friday, the government further directed that all water vendors in the city be registered with the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company within one week. She ordered that the vendors sell the precious commodity at a cost of two shillings per 20 litre Jerican.

 “ I want to warn Nairobi residents that they also need to ask those selling water to them to give a licence that we have given to them to show where they have gotten their water because that will also help us to catch those who are stealing our water, other water is not even clean,” she said.

Mrs Ngilu said that the provincial administration would, in conjunction with the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC), crack the whip on illegal connections.

The government, she said, had invested Sh50 million in getting alternative water supply to the communal schemes. Areas affected include Kamwangi, Gatundu, Ng’enda, Gakoe, Mutchatha, Ruaka among others.

The minister said that NWSC would continue with the water rationing programme but assured that all residents will get the supply. “I have spent the day in meetings with the engineers and they have promised that they will release the water in full pressure for six hours in each area.”

She said that her ministry had requested for an additional Sh400 million from Treasury to purchase 20 water dowsers to service slums which she said were worst affected by the crisis. The construction of 200 water points in these areas has already commenced.

Water shortages in the capital have persisted for years and Mrs Ngilu attributed this to lack of investment in the water storage facilities for decades. The minister said that the government would be investing in new water storage facilities, including a new Sh24 billion dam on the Maragwa River. “The government has secured Sh7.6 billion for an overhaul of water and sewerage facilities in Nairobi. Meanwhile the ministry will next month start main rehabilitation of Sasumwa dam at a cost of Sh2.2 billion to be completed within one and a half years,” Mrs Ngilu added.

She said that he would be presenting before cabinet a policy paper to strengthen the developments. She also hinted that her ministry was working closely with the Attorney General’s office to come up with more punitive measures against those engaged in illegal connections.

The Nairobi water company has noted that water supply in the city stands at 430,000 cubic centimetres per day against a demand of about 530,000 cubic centimetres making a deficit of about 100,000 cubic centimetres.


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