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Slum residents to get free water, says Uhuru

By Josphat Thiong’o | February 22nd 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta is welcomed by Ushirika Primary School Headteacher Susan Kondo on Friday at the opening of Ushirika New Hospital in Dandora. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Nairobi residents living in informal settlements will now access water from boreholes free of charge.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and Athi Water Works Development Agency to ensure that residents have access to water at the 193 recently sunk boreholes in Nairobi.

“As the boreholes continue to function, residents should not be charged a single coin to get water. If the house tap runs dry, you are allowed to walk to the boreholes and get water free of charge,” said the president during the commissioning of two water community projects in Soweto Kayole.

The president said a shortage of water was the main challenge facing Nairobians, and the boreholes were meant to alleviate their suffering before the government completes the Northern Water Collector Tunnel, which would permanently address the shortage.

Once complete, the Northern Water Collector Tunnel is expected to supply approximately 140,000 cubic metres of water per day to Nairobi.

The sinking of boreholes is part of a Sh1.7 billion initiative by the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation to implement independent community projects aimed at increasing water supply to vulnerable communities. It began in April 2020.

The project, which was implemented by Athi Water Works Development Agency in partnership with NMS, involved the drilling of 193 boreholes and construction 100 elevated steel tanks in the capital city.

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More roads

President Kenyatta additionally said more road projects would be launched in informal settlements.

He directed NMS Director General Mohammed Badi to commence the projects to ensure that roads in slums are passable, especially during rainy days.

“I have consulted with Major Badi on the status of these roads and agreed on how they can be rehabilitated to standard roads that residents can walk on without getting muddy during the rainy season,” Uhuru said.

The Kenya Urban Roads Authority is currently undertaking the upgrading of 408 kilometres of access roads across informal settlements at a cost of Sh5.8 billion. Already 22km of access roads have been completed.

Areas being targeted include Kawangware, Riruta, parts of Dagoretti North, Mathare, Kangemi, Mukuru, Kibra, parts of Githurai 44 and 45, Mwiki and Zimmerman.

Other areas include Kabiria, Utawala, Mihang’o, Ruai, Mathare and Dandora.

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