Nairobi water: What’s behind extreme shortages?

A woman carrying water in NairobiPicture copyright
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Many Kenyans haven’t any entry to piped water

Kenya’s quickly rising capital metropolis is going through extreme issues with the availability and high quality of its water provide, driving individuals to purchase it from unsafe and probably contaminated sources.

So, how dangerous is the water downside going through Nairobi and the way does it examine with different main cities in Africa?


The demand (for water in Nairobi) is larger than provide. We’re 20 years behind…so we have to develop new sources.

Nahason Muguna, the top of the Nairobi Metropolis Water and Sewerage Firm (NCWSC), appeared on nationwide tv just lately and expressed severe considerations concerning the tempo of enhancements to the water provide within the face of a quickly rising inhabitants over the previous few many years.

In 1990, greater than 90% of the inhabitants in Kenya’s city areas had entry to scrub water, in keeping with the United Nations.

Now, it’s estimated that simply 50% of Nairobi’s 4 and a half million residents have direct entry to piped water.

Many residents get hold of water from kiosks, distributors and unlawful connections.

The rising inhabitants of Kenya’s capital metropolis

Since 2017 a system of rationing has been in place.

Completely different areas of town obtain water on particular days of the week, some for a number of days and others for just some hours.

“What can resolve issues of water provide within the metropolis is the event of latest water sources,” says Mr Muguna. “The water we’re utilizing was presupposed to serve the inhabitants of town solely as much as the yr 2000.”

Tasks are underneath approach to broaden native dam capability and assemble a brand new water switch tunnel. A few of this further capability is due for completion subsequent yr.

Mr Muguna says these initiatives had been because of be completed greater than a decade in the past, however confronted issues in elevating the finance.

How a lot water does Nairobi want?

There’s at the moment a couple of 25% shortfall in provide to Nairobi properties, in keeping with town’s water supplier, NCWSC.

There are additionally important points over the standard of the piped water, notably within the metropolis’s casual settlements.

Water from drains or sewage can seep into the availability as a result of deterioration of pipes and far of it’s undrinkable, in keeping with the World Well being Group (WHO).

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The federal government has a nationwide goal to make sure availability and entry to improved water to everybody by 2030.

Nevertheless, earlier targets have been missed, with a promise to achieve 80% nationwide protection by 2015 falling considerably quick.

The nationwide estimate for family provision of unpolluted water was 57% by the top of 2018.

How does Nairobi examine?

A research of water provision in 15 cities in decrease revenue international locations world wide was carried out by the US-based World Assets Institute.

Nairobi is actually not the worst for water provision amongst these cities studied.

Water provide world wide

Common hours of water availability per week

Out of the cities surveyed within the area, Kampala and Lagos have the bottom entry to piped water, with many casual settlements in Nigeria’s largest metropolis having no piped water.

The research additionally says that the price of water is excessive in lots of creating cities, with a excessive proportion of family revenue going to buy piped or bottled water.

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