CONSERVATION

City Hall officials defy state directive on drilling boreholes

CS Chelugui wants them limited to protect the water table that has dropped drastically

In Summary

• City residents, environmentalists, and the business community believe that that the directive was a positive development to protect the aquifer and other businesses in Nairobi.

• Water CS Simon Chelugui had said that the government was investing in water sources outside the county.

Borehole drilling at Fedha estate in Nairobi
Borehole drilling Borehole drilling at Fedha estate in Nairobi
Image: Imende Benjamin

Governor Mike Sonko's administration has defied a national government order that bars the drilling of boreholes in Nairobi.

Junior officers at City hall told the Star that the county's top hierarchy had not given them any directive to stop the drilling.

"We have been allowing people to drill but we can't comment on the story since the county executive committee member and top officers in charge of water, who are allowed to comment, are outside the country,” theofficers told the Star.

The governor also failed to respond to our calls.

City residents, environmentalists, and the business community believe that Water CS Simon Chelugui's directive to stop the drilling of water in Nairobi was a positive development to protect the aquifer and other businesses in Nairobi.

“The water table in the county had decreased greatly due to increased competition as people continue to drill more boreholes. We will introduce a licensing condition requiring the distance from one borehole to another being set at 800m to avoid depletion of underground water,” Chelugui said on January 15 at the Kenya Water Training Institute in Nairobi.

The CS said that the government was investing in water sources outside the county. 

On Wednesday night, residents of Fedha estate were woken up by noise when the owner of Northview Academy started drilling the second borehole at the facility.

“There was no public participation in the project as per the county and the residents association rules,” Fedha Estate Residence Association chairperson Martin Kinoti said.

“When we went to the Water Resources Authority we were told as long as the Nairobi county government has issued the license we can't stop.”

 

A vocal Mount Kenya governor was recently allowed to drill another borehole on Biashiara Street.

“The noise from the drilling inconveniences our customers who cannot have a peaceful sleep at night,” a worker in one of the nearby hotels told the Star.

Another borehole also licensed near Ambassador bus stop. The drilling was done for two days.

CS Chelugui has demanded that the county sustains the existing boreholes to limit the number of new ones being dug.