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Water selling trucks parked in Makadara estate, Nairobi. There is a huge water shortage across Nairobi County,on  May 16, 2020. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Water bowsers in Nairobi will have to undergo inspection before commencing operation.  

Exhausters will also all have to be repainted brown and inspected before being allowed to operate in the capital. 

These are among the new regulations introduced by the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) in an attempt to reform the lucrative but cartel-ridden water business in the city.

NCWSC Managing Director Nahashon Muguna on Tuesday said the inspection of the water bowsers or tankers and exhausters would commence yesterday until July 2, 2020.

SEE ALSO: No more water shortage in the city

The bowsers will be inspected at the Wilson Airport water reservoir in South C, Nairobi, while exhausters will seek certification at the Kariobangi Sewerage Treatment Works.

“Inspection will be continuous and would start on June 17, 2020. Operators who will not have been inspected and issued with compliance certificates by July 2, 2020 will be arrested and prosecuted,” said Muguna in a notice in the daily newspapers.

In the new measures, owners of water bowsers should provide a quality certificate of his source of water from a government certified laboratory.

Sampling point

They should also ensure the water bowser tank is painted sky blue and that the interior is lined with food bitumen. They should be fitted with a water sampling point and the tanker volume clearly indicated besides a graduated level indicator on the side. Water bowsers or tankers are required to have a 600mm circular lockable inspection chamber and the tanker’s body devoid of rust.

Owner’s name and telephone number is to be marked with 75mm letters on each side of the tanker. The tankers shall be labelled with the name water tank on the sides of the tank.

All exhausters should, going forward, present clearance certificates from the National Environment Management Authority and pay annual discharge fees before the sub-licence can be issued.

They should also always display in the truck the original letters of approval to discharge into approved points, payment receipt for discharge licence and the business permit issued by Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

The volume is to be clearly indicated on the body of the exhauster and they should also be fitted with a sealed tank and accessories that are leak proof to liquid and gases. Exhausters will further need to be fitted with sludge pumps.

Requisite fees

The capacity of the exhauster will have to be indicated on the sides and the rear with the letters being at least 75mm in size. The word “exhauster” should be written on all sides and the rear of the tank.

“NCWSC reserves the right to cancel the permit to discharge into its sewerage system or impose requisite fees in the event that you fail to comply with the laid down conditions,” said the MD.

He added: “Water tankers and exhausters have been registered to provide the said services but require to be issued with a certificate by the approved water and sanitation service provider before they can operate.” 

The development comes after the Water Services Regulatory Board, in April this year, announced that all water vendors using bowsers within the metropolitan area will have to apply for registration. In new guidelines put in place by the board, the vendors have to undergo vetting and licensing in an effort to weed out cartels that have infiltrated the water sector, leaving city residents with dry taps.

According to the guidelines, the vendors were given until May 15 to have applied for registration.

Athi River Water Works Development Agency CEO Michael Thuita said through these guidelines, they will track where the water is coming from and even the consumers.

The regulations also apply to exhausters, gated community water providers, private boreholes owners engaging in community water supply and NGO-run water projects.

The new guidelines provide for the development of an app that will allow consumers to easily trace water providers.

Using the app, a consumer can order the amount of water they need and they will be directed to the vendor.

Thuita said there have been allegations that some exhauster operators empty human waste in rivers, thus contributing to pollution.

“No one will walk into the business just like that. We will track the exhausters from where it is exhausting to where it is emptying,” he said.

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