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Mike Sonko offers Sh300,000 reward crackdown against water cartels

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By COLLINS OMULO
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Nairobi County government has launched a crackdown on ‘cartels’ blamed for perennial water shortages experienced within the capital.

The crackdown has seen Governor Mike Sonko announce a Sh300, 000 cash reward for anyone who will help his administration identify those behind the alleged water cartels, many of them accused of diverting the commodity to private vendors by disconnecting water pipes in Nairobi estates.

Mr Sonko also offered a Sh10, 000 cash reward for anyone who reports City Hall officials caught colluding with the ‘cartels’ to divert piped water from Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NSWSC).

“We are determined to identify and arrest these water cartels who divert piped water to private water vendors. It is apparent that the water shortage being experienced in many parts of Nairobi is as a result of sabotage by these cartels whose days are now numbered. We will find them,” said Mr Sonko on Sunday.

Nairobi County has been experiencing water rationing since April 2017 with the huge difference in demand and supply being blamed on an inadequate water infrastructure.

This has been occasioned by demand outstripping supply as NSWSC can only produce a maximum of 526, 000 cubic meters of water daily against a demand of 790, 000 cubic meters.

Mr Sonko said that this demand is estimated to be increasing by 20,000 cubic meters per year in the county.

To address the huge imbalance, he said that the county together with the national government and the World Bank are working to complete the construction of phase I of the northern collector tunnel which will supply 140,000 cubic meters of water to Nairobi.

He said the project is expected to be completed by October 2019.

“This project will only divert flood water to the tunnel from three rivers: Gikigie, Irati and Maragua in Murang’a. The tunnel will bring water to Thika/Ndakaini dam whose yield today is unable to support the required production capacity of Ngethu water treatment works of 440,000 cubic meters,” said Sonko.

At the same, the governor said that his administration is working on plans to improve water supply to Lang’ata and Karen areas.

He said that a pipeline is being built from Kabete to Uthiru then going all the way to Karen Shopping Centre before it is connected to an existing pipeline along Lang’ata Road.

“This will address water supply problems in the whole of Lang’ata Constituency and remove the water conflict between Kibra and Lang’ata Constituencies,” he said.

The City Hall boss has, however, warned against construction of residential houses on top of a 24 million litre reservoir tank situated on Olive Hospital road in South C that has the capacity to supply water to the entire Lang’ata Constituency.

“So many residential houses have been constructed on top of the water pipeline and at some point blocked the pipeline from supplying water to this major reservoir tank,” he said.

Estates in the constituency are currently not getting enough water because the pipeline which serves the area passes through Kibra where cartels have obstructed water to sell to private vendors within the constituency.

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