Corruption and Cartels Drain Nairobi’s Water
With a dry season already bringing Kenya’s water reservoirs to the brink, the severely limited water supplies of Nairobi are now also being illegally diverted on their way to the taps of millions. The Nairobi City Council has uncovered an illegal scheme that siphons away nearly half of the capital’s water into pipes for irrigating farm land, the BBC reported.
Dealers and local officials at the water distribution department are diverting the water just as the city is facing a tough round of water rationing that threatens to cause outbreaks of water-borne diseases.
”We know there are cartels. We are cracking down on them,” said Mbaruku Vyakweli of the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, whose board was sacked for mismanagement earlier this week. “We are working closely with the police, and we are moving from one area to another.”
The water shortages have triggered a number of consequences in Nairobi, where the water levels in supplying reservoirs are dangerously low due to failed rains in the past rainy season. The Ndakaini Dam, which has a capacity of 70 million cubic meters, has sunk to about 26 million cubic meters.
While water sellers are making a profit from high water prices, residents in the suburbs are failing to find water even for basic human needs.
“I can’t wash today, because there is no water – I don’t know where I can get it,” a local resident told the BBC’s Network Africa programme.
In a country where many people live on less than a dollar a day, water prices are skyrocketing. In the city center, A 20-liter jerry can of water — enough for one person for one day of water needs — is selling for around $1.30, the BBC reported.
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Source: the BBC
, a Bulgaria native, is a Chicago-based reporter for Circle of Blue. She co-writes The Stream, a daily digest of international water news trends.
Interests: Europe, China, Environmental Policy, International Security.
How difficult can it be for the government to sort this out? You look at the pipelines and figure out where half(!) the water is being taken off to irrigation schemes. You shut those points off, and the water goes to the people of Nairobi.
Or could it be that corruption is so pervasive and ingrained that there is continued inaction on this and on many other injustices?