TOUGH TIMES

Nairobi residents to experience water shortage till 2023

Rationing to significantly reduce when most of the projects aimed at increasing water to the city are complete.

In Summary

• Current demand for Nairobi is 790,000 cubic metres per day against a capacity of 526,000 cubic meters per day provided by Ndakaini Dam.

• This leaves a shortage of 264,000 cubic metres per day.

Ndakaini Dam.
Ndakaini Dam.
Image: FILE

Water rationing in the city will not end at least for the next three years, water company boss Nahason Muguna has said. 

Muguna told the Star rationing will significantly reduce in 2023 when most of the projects aimed at increasing water to the city are complete.

“We expect the Northen Collector tunnel which will bring an additional 140,000 cubic metres per day to be completed in December next year,” Muguna said.

He said the Ndakaini Dam which supplies Nairobi is at 45.5 per cent, which translates to 31.85 million cubic metres of water.

Muguna said there current demand of Nairobi is 790,000 cubic metres per day against a capacity of 526,000 cubic metres per day provided by Ndakaini Dam.

This leaves a shortage of 264,000 cubic metres per day.

Ndakaini dam can store 70 million cubic metres at full capacity. It is 2,041 metres above sea level. The dam is 65 meters deep.

The dam’s catchment area measures 75 square kilometres. It includes Kimakia and Gatare Natural Forests in the Aberdare Ranges.

The main rivers draining into the Dam from are Thika, Githika and Kayuyu.

The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company managing director said the Sh6.8 billion Northern Water Collector Tunnel will not solve water shortages in Nairobi.

He said other projects such as the Maragua dam remains key.

This development comes as scientists warn that the weather patterns in the country were changing.

The change in rainfall patterns has in recent years had a huge impact in the country as 98 per cent of the country’s agriculture is rain-fed.

Most parts of Kenya experiences two rain seasons: March to May long rains season and October to December short rains.

The months of June to August are mainly cool and dry over most parts of the country except for some parts in the western region that report some rains.

Hot and dry conditions are observed over the entire country in January and February. In recent years, the delay in rains has become the norm.

Muguna said once the Maragua dam is complete, it will produce 120,000 cubic metres per day with a storage capacity of 64 million cubic metres.

He said Northen Collector tunnel will add another 140,000 cubic metres per day to the current Ndakaini installed capacity.  Total water supplied to Nairobi will rise to 660,000 cubic metres per day.

Already, dry taps are being witnessed in some parts of Nairobi such as East lands, Nyayo estates among others.

Muguna said there is no cause for alarm as the available water will be distributed fairly and equally between 12 and 24 hours.

“People should store water and use it effectively,” he said.

(edited by O. Owino)