• Nairobi loses Sh3.7 billion annually to illegal water connections and leakages.
• 'These cartels have been challenging every move that I make — unfortunate for them. With my background, all I know is work'
Nairobi Metropolitan Services director general Mohammed Badi has warned cartels and individuals diverting water supply their days are numbered.
Badi told MPs he is going after the racketeers who have been making billions by starving residents of water so they supply it at exorbitant prices.
Appearing before the National Assembly Security Committee on Monday, he said he will not be intimidated by the cartels keen on resisting his bid to streamline distribution.
"Water is deliberately being diverted to private houses where it is loaded into bowsers and sold to Nairobi residents,” the NMS boss said.
“These cartels have been challenging every move that I make — unfortunate for them. With my background, all I know is work."
Badi revealed that the NMS is in the process of reclaiming the diverted water systems, with a special focus on informal settlements.
In most cases, the pipes are cut and sealed off by vandals — some stuffed with foam mattresses, forcing residents to buy from bowsers or vendors with handcarts.
The director general also disclosed that the NMS is currently registering bowsers to ensure water safety.
“The registration is facing resistance from influential people. But they will have to comply," Badi told the committee chaired by Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange.
The director general further issued a warning to people with underground tanks in their houses, saying cartels divert water to such tanks.
“There are people hoarding water enough to supply an estate, we will also go for them,” the soldier said.
Koinange lauded the NMS for the impact it has made in the city in the past six months. In June, the NMS had stated vandalism of infrastructure as one of the hurdles encountered in its efforts to fix water shortages.
Badi had noted that illegal connections and vandalism of water and sewage systems were rampant in most informal settlements.
“Illegal connections and vandalism of water and sewer infrastructure are a criminal offence and can attract a fine of Sh100,000 or a jail term of two years or both, according to the Water Act, 2016,” he said.
In October last year, the county government earned about Sh13 million in penalties for illegal water connections in the 2018-19 financial year. A City Hall-based court fined 232 people about Sh3.2 million in the same period, according to the Water department.
The department unearthed 1,834 illegal water connections in its crackdown and regularised 893. It also revealed that Nairobi loses Sh3.7 billion annually to illegal water connections and leakages.