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More days of dry taps for Nairobians as Sasamua plant shut

Friday May 8 2020

Kawangware water shortage

Residents of Kawangware in Nairobi wait to buy water from a local vendor following a shortage during the dry season, April 20, 2019. The water shortage problem persists even during rainy seasons. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MAEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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Nairobi residents will once against face a water shortage, this time due to the shutting down of the Sasumua Dam treatment works due to a massive landslide and a pipeline's destruction.

The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCSWC) announced on Friday that it had shut the plant that supplies 11.6 per cent of water to the city's population.

Acting Managing Director Nahashon Muguna said the shutdown was occasioned by a landslide that affected Karemenu River inside the Aberdare Forest, interfering with operations at Sasamua.

"Our engineers and the maintenance staff are on the site, accessing the modalities’ of mobilising to start the repairs," Mr Muguna said in a statement without stating the duration of the water shortage.

"The area is experiencing heavy rains, making access very difficult. We have to walk over 10km inside the forest."

AREAS AFFECTED

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As a result of the damage, estates including Kangemi, Lavington, Westlands and Parklands will experience water supply interruptions.

The parts around MP Shah, Aga Khan, Nairobi and Kenyatta hospitals, as well as Community, ILRI, Upper Hill and Kilimani will also be affected.

The shortage will also be experienced at the University of Nairobi's main campus hall of residence, Upper and Lower Kabete campuses, UoN and Kenyatta University's campuses in parklands, Kenyatta Market, Kibera, Jamhuri, Ngando, Riruta/Satelite, Dagoretti Corner and Kawangware.

Langata, Madaraka Estate, Mbagathi and Ngong roads, Karen, Loresho, Nyali, Kitisuru, estates along Peponi road, new Muthaiga and Thigiri Ridge will also be affected.

"The government is doing everything possible to restore supply. We are mobilising all the NCWSC tankers to supply water to affected areas," Mr Muguna said.

THE DAMAGE

Kikuyu Springs and Ruiru Dam, which account for just 3.6 per cent of the supply to Nairobi residents, are operating normally.

Operations at the Ng'ethu treatment plant, which supplies 85 per cent of Nairobi water, are yet to resume.

On May 1, the NCWSC shut down Ng'ethu due to heavy rainfall that left the system clogged.

Repairs are being down in phases to allow a pressure build-up. Only 17 million litres are pumped to the city per hour as the heavy rainfall in the Aberdare Ranges has been causing high turbidity levels.

Mr Muguna said the Ng'ethu situation was stabilising as the rains were declining, leading to lower turbidity and less clogging of the Mwagu water intake on Chania River.

He said people along Outer ring Road, parts of Mombasa road, the central business district, Dandora, Kariobangi, Nyayo Embakasi among other estates in Eastlands were already receiving water.

"We appeal for your indulgence as we work towards restoring normalcy. We further urge the public to use the available water sparingly," he said.

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