Nairobi residents have started experiencing water shortage problems as the rationing, expected to last at least up to April, begins.The Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) say that the rationing has been necessitated by low volumes of water at the Ndakaini Dam and other water dams that supply water to Nairobi. Citing low rainfall last year as the main cause, the water body hopes that the water scarcity will end in April when it hopes that there will be long rains.
However, the managing director of the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, Mr. Philip Gichuki, says that the water body will revise the rationing program if the country receives enough rain to sustain the normal supply.
Water shortage attributed to inadequate rains
According to Mr. Gichuki, the country received very little of the expected short rains that it gets from the Aberdare catchment area. He said that the amount of rain was well below average.
For this reason, only 250mm of rainfall against an expected average of 1000mm was available, a very low figure for the dams to maintain a good amount of water.
The Ndakaini Dam is the major reservoir that supplies water to Nairobi; however, there are other dams that have been supplying water before the construction of the Ndakaini Dam. These include Ruiru dam Githunguri, in Kiambu, and Sasumua Dam in Nyandarua. All these rely on the Aberdare catchment area hence the current shortage.
Mr. Gichuki further attributes the low levels of the water dams to the below average rains that the country has experienced since the year 2014. This has resulted in decreased water in the rivers, hence inadequate recharging of the dams. Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) says that at present, the water body can only deliver 545, 034 cubic meters of water per day against a daily demand of 760,000 cubic meters, translating to a shortfall of 214 cubic meters.
The water rationing program in Nairobi
Water rationing is a global practice all over the world, often used whenever there are low volumes of water that result to water scarcity in areas they supply. Ideally, the program should ensure sharing the available water fairly, whether this will happen in Nairobi or other affected cities experiencing water scarcity is yet to be seen.
The program will see a reduction of water supply to Nairobi by about 13 percent. However, most residents have been experiencing water shortages even before the rationing. For example, some Nairobi estates have been receiving water for only five days a week. With water rationing in Nairobi, the estates that were getting water for five days will start getting for four days a week and experience the water shortage for 3 days a week.
However, this does not seem to be the case, Nairobi residents started experiencing water shortage problems before the rationing was even announced and could even go for a whole week with no water in December.
A big problem is that even when the water comes, which in most cases is just one day in a week in residential estates like Kasarani along off Thika highway, the water pressure is very low and only available for a few hours. Unfortunately, the water cannot even get into a storage tank a few feet from the ground and consumers must invest in water pumps to increase the pressure.
Efficient use of water during the water crisis
The water scarcity requires that consumers change the way they use the water and ensure that the little they get can see them through and take care of the necessities.
The Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company is appealing to the Nairobi residents to use the available little water sparingly. To cope with the water crisis in Nairobi, the water body has requested consumers to reduce some of the non-essential services such as the car wash activities in Nairobi until the normal supply resumes.
The Nairobi residents should, therefore, expect to go through a difficult period as they experience the water shortage expected to last until it rains, hopefully in a few months’ time.