State mulls over two new dams to curb city water shortages

The Kenyan National Treasury has backed plans to build two new dams in the country via a PPP. Nairobi, Kenya: National Treasury has given clearance for construction of Maragwa and Ndarugu dams in a public-private partnership arrangement. Completion of works for the two dams is expected to ease ongoing water supply deficits within Nairobi City. In a notice appearing this week in the local dailies, Treasury said the Nairobi Bulk Water Supply project has been approved by the Cabinet in a list that comprises 47 public-private projects. Available figures indicate that Nairobi has a water supply deficit of over 150,000 cubic metres. “The Athi Water Services Board has identified these two dams and is in the process of sinking them. At present, we still have capacity problems and not even large amounts of rainfall can improve the water supply situation in Nairobi,” said Mbaruku Vyakweli, Corporate Affairs Manager at Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company. Nairobi obtains the largest bulk of its water supply – at 80 per cent – from Ndakaini Dam, 15 per cent from Sasumua, 3 per cent from Ruiru Dam and 2 per cent from Kikuyu Springs. “We have been on a strict water distribution programme to ensure that all customers have water,” said Vyakweli. Available figures from Athi Water Services Board indicate that demand for water in Nairobi is likely to increase to 908,415 cubic metres per day by 2017. Supply targets According to these estimates, the demand will continue to increase in subsequent years at approximately 1,037,721 m3, 1,510,188 m3 and 1,811,127 m3 per day in 2020, 2030 and 2035 respectively. The Nairobi Water Supply Master Plan has been developed by the Athi Water Services Board with funding from the World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD). It details strategies to meet universal water supply targets for Nairobi and 13 satellite towns by 2035. At present, the city’s water supply is hit by low pressure in the network, leaks in distribution reticulation, deteriorating status of pipes, challenges in tracking of illegal connections, lack of adequate coverage of consumers and vandalism of controls. The master plan identifies new groundwater sources in Nairobi and adjoining districts that have been tested and proved fit for human consumption. Two, in Kiunyu and Ruiru, are estimated to have a capacity of 64,800 cubic metres per day. Diversion and transfer of rivers in the Central highlands is projected to catalyse development of new reservoirs, according to the plan. Source: