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January 22, 2019

Nairobi water shortage looms as reservoirs drop

Water vendors wait for clients in Eastleagh as water shortage continues in the city /MONICA MWANGI
Water vendors wait for clients in Eastleagh as water shortage continues in the city /MONICA MWANGI

Water rationing in Nairobi looms large as the reservoirs holding the city’s supplies continue to drop.

The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company now pegs its hopes on the April long rains. Acting MD Nahashon Muguna yesterday said Thika dam’s storage stood at 34 million cubic metres, representing 49 per cent of its full capacity.

“Today, we are supplying the city with 505,000 cubic metres of water a day, against a demand of 760,000 cubic metres a day,” Muguna said. He added that due to the water supplied to the city being lower than the demand, they are forced to ration water through the equitable distribution programme.

Read: Nairobi’s water shortage: Take care of the watershed


This, he says, ensures every customer gets water. “Through this programme we have ensured the city central business area, all hospitals, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and major security installations receive water 24/7,” he said.

Thika dam has a storage capacity of 70,000,000 cubic metres at full storage level of 2,041 metres above sea level and a depth average of 65m. The dam produces 430,000 cubic metres of water a day, which is about 84 per cent of water supply to Nairobi residents.

Water rationing affects informal settlements, exposing many to threats such as typhoid, cholera and other diseases as a result of poor sanitation. However, Muguna said his company will strive to ensure slums receive adequate water to avoid such outbreaks.

He said with the equitable distribution programme, “water supply is stable and should anyone not receive water, they should contact his office.”

The acting MD said the NCWSC wants to continue producing the same volume of water until the onset of the April long rains. NCWSC’s mandate is to provide clean water and sewerage services to the residents of Nairobi county in a financially sustainable manner and within government regulations. Nairobi has an estimated population of 3.8 million and projected to grow to 4.5 million by 2019. It has a water deficit of 200,000 cubic metres per day.

Read: Nairobi residents feel the pinch of water shortage


The city depends on supply from five water sources under the facilitation of the Athi Water Services Board.

Sasumua dam supplies 52,800 cubic metres per day, Kikuyu Springs supplies ( 4,000 cubic metres), Ruiru dam ( 22,800 cubic metres), Ngethu Water Works ( 379,200 cubic metres) and the Thika Dam’s 91,200 cubic metres. Already, works on the Northern Water Collector Tunnel project in Murang’a are ongoing.

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