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Boreholes to ease Nairobi water shortage

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – One hundred high yielding boreholes will be drilled in Nairobi to deal with any water shortage in the city should the drought persist.

Water Permanent Secretary David Stower told Capital News on Friday that this was part of emergency measures the ministry was undertaking to avert a looming water crisis should the rains fail completely.

He said the boreholes would be in operation by March because Ndakaini Dam, which provides water in Nairobi during emergencies, was also running out of the resource.

“We are focusing mainly in the Eastland’s area and today (Friday) my minister will be launching a drilling programme and it will continue to different parts of the city,” Engineer Stower said.

“We also have a few boreholes within Uhuru Park and we want to bring them back into the system,” he added.

The PS said that the drilling and rehabilitation of boreholes would be done up to a radius of 100 kilometres to supplement Ndakaini dam, which is currently losing four centimetres of water per day from its levels.

1.8 cubic metres of the water is being used every second compared to the 0.6 cubic metres of the resource that is being collected from the mountains per second; and the dam is now holding 44 million cubic metres of water, almost half its capacity.

Engineer Stower added that once the programme was implemented, it would bring into the system 30 million litres of water per day.

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“We have done our own assessments of the potential of these boreholes and we are confident that their water storage is viable enough to support our concerns,” he said.

He called on people who own boreholes in the city that are not utilised to participate in the programme to bring them into production.

PS Stower said that the emergency plan would cost Sh400 million.

He added that all water schemes which had been abandoned within the proximity of the city had been revived or were under revival. The water schemes include Gatundu, Thiririka and Karimenu to serve local communities who had for sometime been served by the main Nairobi water supply system.

“We have revived two of them and offloaded the local consumers back to their old schemes leading to a release of six million litres of water per day for Nairobi to ease the problem,” the PS said.

In August last year, Water Minister Charity Ngilu said that the dam which had been in use since October 2007 had sufficient water to run until March this year if the rains failed.

Nairobi has been experiencing a water shortage as a result of the damage at the Sasumua dam – which is the main water supplier – and also failure to sufficiently invest in water storage facilities in the city.

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