Cartels blamed for water crisis

Water vendors at a Nairobi estate/FILE
Water vendors at a Nairobi estate/FILE

The acute water shortage in Langata estate has been blamed on cartels.

City Hall officials say the county government can only meet 30 per cent of the total water requirements of Lang’ata residents due to cartels who cut supply lines.

City Hall Director for Water services, Mario Kainga Friday blamed cartels who cut pipes to divert water as a major causes of water shortage.

“Remember it also has neighbouring estates like Karen, Madaraka, Nairobi West and Highrise who also get water from the same line and the available network can only be able to supply a fixed ratio,” Kainga said.

Lang’ata has historically been seen as a water shortage estate due to perennial water scarcity.

In November 2018, Lang’ata MP Nixon Korir accused the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company and the county government of colluding to cut supply to his constituency.

“Nairobi Water officials are delaying the water or totally blocking supply to the residents of Lang’ata in order for them to make a killing by selling water with bowsers,” Korir said.

In the same month, residents of National Housing Corporation(NHC) in Langata blocked Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company officials from leaving the premises without reconnecting their water supply.

They accused the officials of being in a cartel which ensures that residents buy water from bowsers.

The residents claimed they rarely get water even on the designated days of the week as per the water rationing programme.

In 2016 after enduring many months of intermittent water supply at the NHC, residents of the estate decided to pull their resources and bought a water bowser to cut down on expenses incurred through buying the commodity from vendors

The residents say they spend an average of Sh8,000 per month to purchase water from vendors.

Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company lost more than Sh1 billion to illegal water connections and leakages in 2016-17.

Auditor General Edward Ouko, in his report on the financial statements of the water company, says out of 181,363,932 cubic metres the firm produced during the year, only 112,787,621 cubic metres ( 62 per cent) was billed to customers, earning the firm Sh5.1 billion.

The remaining 38 per cent of the supply was non-revenue water.’

According to City Hall, daily water demand in Nairobi stands at 700,000 cubic metres, but only 525,600 cubic metres is what is currently being supplied. However, county hospitals, learning institutions, CBD and slum areas get 24 hour water supply.

City Hall says that the construction of the Northern Collector Tunnel will bring an additional 140,000 cubic meters. It is expected that the tunnel would be complete by the end of December this year.