Joy as water flows in Kenyan slum

September 4, 2010 12:00 am


NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 4 – Six thousand residents of Mathare\’s Kosovo area can now access cheap and clean water at a subsidised cost of Sh2 per 20 litre jerrican, after four water kiosks were commissioned in the area on Friday.

The Sh3 million project which was piloted by the Nairobi City Water Company (NCWC, the Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF) and Pamoja Trust has also seen 34 metered water connections established.

Elizabeth Nyambura a resident and beneficiary of the project could not contain her excitement saying the water scheme had made her life easier and had also reduced chances of her contracting water borne diseases.

"There is a river that splits this area and we had to cross it to get water on the other side because there was none on our side. In addition to that, the water that we used to get was not clean and cholera was the order of the day," she explained.

She however added that the water project was not enough as there was still urgent need for the government to construct proper sewer systems for the residents.

"For instance where I stay there are toilets but the sewer lines are not well fitted so sometimes the contents overflow and spill over. Sometimes they even get into the river and you know once the Michuki laws on the environment are implemented we won\’t have anywhere to dump the waste," she said.

For the residents to access the metered water, they need Sh5000 which can be paid over a period of six months with a down payment of Sh1000. According to Charles Waweru a youth representative in charge of the project, 150 residents had applied for the water loan so far.

"We want to ask the water company to process these water meters fast so that we can reduce the jam," he said.

On his part, Nairobi Water Company Technical Director Joseph Kariuki added that the company was already looking into ways of creating cheaper sewer systems for all slum dwellers. He said the process which was at an advanced stage would be commissioned in Mathare.

"It is an idea that we have borrowed from somewhere else and we are calling it the condominium sewerage. It\’s a system that can be used in slums and if we succeed we will duplicate it in other areas. All we are asking for is your cooperation," he said.

He also noted that getting land to put up the water kiosks in the area had been a huge challenge as there was no free space. He asked the residents to surrender their land and help facilitate such projects.

"I also want to urge you to pay your water bills so that we continue serving you. We cannot maintain any of our projects without money," he said.

Water Services Trust Fund Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Musyoki asked the residents to avoid wasting water and to report all illegal water connections.

\’We have seen how successful this project can be and our request would be that you continue policing your water so that unscrupulous people don\’t benefit from it. We will ask for more money so that other villages in Mathare can benefit as well," she said.

This project will be up scaled to other villages in Mathare which include: Mabatini, Mathare 3B and C, Gitathuru, Mathare 4B, Kiamutisya, Bondeni, Village 2 and Mashimoni. It is estimated that about 300,000 people live in the slum settlement.

Some of the other guests were a representative of the Permanent Secretary to the water ministry Sao Alima, area councilor Andrew Macharia, Pamoja Trust representative, the Managing Director for the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company Philip Gichuki, and former Member of Parliament Maina Kamanda.


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