THIRSTY CITY

Why Nairobi taps could soon run dry despite assurances

Water demand is above 800,000 cubic meters per day against capacity of 526,000 cubic meters

In Summary

• City suffers a shortfall of 274,000 cubic meters per day

• Chelugui says water rationing will continue to reduce the huge gap between supply and demand

Ndakaini Dam. Image: FILE
Ndakaini Dam. Image: FILE

Taps within Nairobi county could soon run dry.

Water CS Simon Chelugui said the current water demand is above 800,000 cubic meters per day against the installed capacity of 526,000 cubic meters daily.

This leaves a shortfall of 274,000 cubic meters per day.

“This calls for very experienced staff to manage the water system network. Since even the sources of water, dams, are full, water rationing will continue to reduce the huge gap of supply and demand,” Chelugui told the press on Thursday.

He said the disruption of water provision is however expected to be minimal.

The CS said water shortage within the city has in the recent past attracted cartels selling the commodity at exorbitant prices.

"We will be vigilant to ensure there are no cartels," he said.

Noticing the vulnerability, cartels have been selling a 20-litre jerry can for up to Sh50. 

Chelugui said the non-revenue water in the country needs to be brought from 41 per cent to the acceptable 25 per cent.

Non-revenue water is water produced but is lost before it reaches the customer. Kenya loses Sh7.8 billion to non-revenue water annually.

Part of the water loss is as a result of ageing pipelines.

The CS cited the construction of the Sh6.8 billion Northern Water Collector Tunnel as one of the ways water pressure within the city will be eased.

Chelugui said the tunnel is set to be completed in eight months.

The tunnel will upon completion add another 140 million litres of water per day to the current Ndakaini installed capacity. 

“Also, the construction of Karimeru dam is in progress and when completed it shall produce 70,000 cubic meters per day,” he said.

The CS made this announcement after meeting with Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company senior management and Nairobi CEC for Environment, Energy, Water and Natural Resources Vesca Kangogo.

The CS said the government was in the process of procuring Maragua and Ndurungu dams.

The two dams are set to meet and exceed the demand for water in the city for up to 2035.

Chelugui said water is a national resource and no county should claim to possess rights over it.

The national government will continue making huge investments with a view of increasing water coverage as well as sanitation, he said.

Chelugui said water tariffs adjusted by Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company in 2015 are meant to ensure sustainability of water utilities.

The tariffs are also meant to ensure there is money for operation and maintenance of water utilities, rehabilitate aging infrastructure and extend services to uncovered areas.

Chelugui said provisions are also made in the tariffs to ensure that utilities pay loans.

However, some have not paid up. For instance, Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company have an outstanding loan of Sh4.34 billion owed to the state through Athi Waterworks Development Agency.