Vendors make a killing as city taps run dry

Monday January 23 2017

A water vendor in Tena Estate in Nairobi in the past. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Water vendors in the city are reaping huge profits by exploiting Nairobi residents who need the precious commodity.

A spot check by has revealed that a 20-litre water jerrican of water is being sold for between Sh30 and Sh50 in different city estates.

In some of the estates, initially, a 20-litre jerrican would cost as low as Sh10, but today, the vendors have hiked the amount by Sh20 to retail at Sh30 while in other estates, they are selling at Sh50.

And because residents need water, coupled with the erratic rationing programme, they have no choice but to agree to part with whatever price the vendors are charging.

This is despite Water minister Eugene Wamalwa, a week ago, warning of "severe punishment" against cartels and vendors exploiting city residents.

Mr Wamalwa also urged city dwellers to use water sparingly.


The Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company announced a rationing programme on January 1, citing low levels of water in the Ndakaini dam. also found that some of the vendors are fetching their water from burst pipes and through illegal connections, especially in slums.

Kayole resident Ann Njeri said the rationing schedule announced by the water firm is not being followed and is inconveniencing many.

"Some people are unable to wash their clothes and have to walk long distances to fetch water from selected water points because they cannot afford to buy water from the [vendors] who are supplying water in the estate," she said.

Another resident in Ruaraka estate, John Kimani, said there had been no water supply for a whole week.

"We are now in the second week and the situation is really bad," he said.

Carwash businesses being supplied by the water agency were also ordered to close down or seek alternative sources.