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Why taps in Nairobi will remain dry despite rains

By Josphat Thiong'o | Published Mon, May 8th 2017 at 00:00, Updated May 7th 2017 at 22:33 GMT +3
Residents of Nairobi Langata Southlands Kijiji area line up for water in the early hours. (Photo: Elvis Ogina/Standard)

Nairobi residents may soon get more water if the rains persist.

However, until the water level hits the 30 per cent mark at Ndakaini Dam, city residents will continue to get water twice a week.

Therefore, the increase in the frequency of water supply from the current two days in a week to three days will depended on the ongoing rains.

The Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company yesterday said the water level at the Ndakaini Dam, which is the main supplier of the city, was improving and that the firm would review the rationing schedule in a week if the rains continued.

"The water level is still below 25 per cent but if the rains continue  the way they are doing, the level will be above 30 per cent by next week," said the company's corporate affairs head, Mbaruku Vyakweli.

This is good news for residents who in some cases have to pay as much as Sh80 for 20 litres of the now scarce commodity.

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"It is a relief because I will save the money I would have used on water, which I buy at Sh40 for a 20-litre jerrican," said Amina Ibrahim from Pangani.

Ms Ibrahim uses three jerricans in a day. She says she spends approximately Sh4,000 in a month on water.

Brian Karori from Ngumba estate was elated by the news, saying that making more water available would reduce the cost of buying it from vendors. "Water prices are now almost competing with those of other commodities such as sugar and flour, which should not be the case. I pray that the rains continue because we are really struggling," he said.

Kaloleni residents, who bore the brunt of the water shortage, lauded the possibility of increasing water supply, saying it would put an end to the tedious and expensive process of having to rely on water vendors.

"We thank God for the rains because that way we can store rain water and boil it for consumption," said Sheryl Achieng. She continued: "The city administration should, however, hasten the repair of damaged water lines and do away with illegal water connections."

Nairobi has been facing a water shortage since January because of a fall in the level of water at Ndakaini Dam, which was caused by drought in the Aberdares and Mt Kenya areas, the main water catchments for rivers feeding the dam.

The dam supplies 84 per cent of the water used in the city.