Why Nairobi City firm is still rationing water despite dams overflowing

City WAter supply

The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company Limited.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company Limited has explained why it is still rationing water even when dams are full and overflowing.

In a statement signed by the company's Managing Director Nahason Muguna, the company said it has to treat water from the dams before it reaches residents' taps, leaving them with the same problem of a supply that is almost 350 million litres short of the city's needs.

Nairobi City Council has four sources of water, namely Kikuyu Springs, Ruiru, Sasumua and Thika dams, while the water is treated at Ngethu, Sasumua, Kabete and Kikuyu Water Treatment Works.

The four have an installed daily production capacity of 440 million, 61 million, 20 million and 4 million respectively.

Cumulatively, the water treatment plants have a maximum production capacity of 525.6 million litres per day against a demand of 870 million litres.

"Our water supply to the city is therefore limited to the installed production capacity. This means that even if our dams overflow, the water supply will remain constant - we cannot go beyond the installed production capacity," said the water firm boss.

However, to reduce the gap between the demand and supply of water in the city, Mr Muguna said the national and county governments through the Athi Water Works Development Agency (AW-WDA) are developing the Northern Collector Tunnel Phase I Water Project.

This project is expected to be commissioned in March 2024 and is expected to provide an additional 140 million litres of water per day to the city.

In addition, the Karimenu Dam Water Project in Kiambu County being developed by AWWDA is in its final stages and is expected to supply 23 million litres of water per day to the city by the end of 2023.

"Currently, every customer receives water at least once a week. Once the two projects are completed, each customer will receive water at least three times a week," said Muguna.

The water company also revealed that the Nairobi City Council and the national government have further secured funding of about Sh15.3 billion ($100 million) for the development of the Northern Collector Tunnel Phase II Project in Murang'a to bring an additional 120 million litres of water per day to the city by 2026.

In addition, the development of the Maragua IV Dam through Public Private Partnerships is in the final stages of procurement and upon completion in 2028, will increase the city's water supply by 130 million litres per day.