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Kitengela Hit by Water Shortage as Price of the Commodity Hits the Roof

Scramble for water in Kitengela and Athi River towns following rationing on the commodity from Ndakaini dam, has caused several boreholes to dry up.

Nkakaini dam supplies 85 per cent of Nairobi city water, which is also the source of livelihood in the sprawling towns of Mlolongo, Athi River and Kitengela.

Most households in Kitengela are now depending on hard water from private boreholes that have been licensed by the department of water to sell the commodity.

Most shocking is that six major boreholes that have been serving an estimated population of 20, 000 people dried up on Tuesday.

Several homes had connected pipes to the six boreholes after the Export Processing Zone Authority also started rationing the supply after Nairobi County Government began the rationing in January.

Following the shortage, vendors are now making a kill in sales with a 20 litre jerricans of salt water selling at between Sh50 and Sh70.

Fresh water is sold at Sh100 per 20 litre jerrican, when available.

Most of the people in Athi River and Kitengela are workers at the EPZA and with the little income earned as salary, they cannot afford to make ends meets with the current price of water.

Also affected are construction companies in the three major urban centres, who have briefly ceased construction work following the shortage of water.

Kajiado County has two existing water towers in Mt. Kilimanjaro and Entasopia River but the water from the two sources cannot reach Kitengela because of the distance.

Water from Kilimanjaro serves Loitokitok and its surrounding area, parts of Makueni and Machakos, and Mashuuru town in Kajiado East Constituency.

The water from Entasopia only serves the surrounding irrigation farms in Olkiramatian, Nkurruman and Magadi town.

Residents of Ewuaso Kedong area of Kajiado West are served by water from Kijabe springs in Kiambu.

Most parts of the county depend on borehole water and open water pans.

Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company managing director Philip Gichuki has been quoted in the media saying the 70 million cubic metre capacity dam is only 40 per cent full.

He says this was caused by a prolonged dry spell in Kikuyu, Aberdares and Mt. Kenya areas and noted that the water rationing will continue until the long rains begin in March or April.

The MD says Ndakaini has only received 250mm of rain against the 1,000mm usually received at this time.

“We have been forced to reduce distribution. If an estate was receiving water for four days, we have reduced it to three and those who were receiving for five days are now getting water for four,” Gichuki says.

Though water rationing has been going on in the city for years, it has never been so severe.

Figures from the NCWSC show that on normal days, Ndakaini dam supplies 540,000 cubic metres of water a day to the city. This is against the demand of 740,000 cubic metres.

But since the new rationing programme began, only 462,000 cubic metres of water are being supplied each day, stretching the demand gap to 278,000 cubic metres, up from 200,000 cubic metres.

NCWSC, it is said, is under pressure to cut its supply of water to Athi River’s EPZA on claims it is straining the smooth supply to its intended population in the city.

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