Skip to main content

The curious tragedy of Nairobi Water

With an  ISO 9001 certification to boot, this is the much water
that Nairobi Water can supply to my house
 Next year, Kenya will mark 50 years since it gained its indepedence. At 50 years of age, an average Kenyan citizen has 10 years to live, if they are female, or 8 more if they are male. A few years ago, they would already be dead, but we have  improved health care, standards of living and reduced HIV impact to thank for.

Not to be left out, the state of utilities and services in Kenya is wanting, like in many other countries. After years of neglect ,Kenya has proved sceptic wrong  (including yours truly ) by coming up with stunning highways, while the country''s power utility, Kenya Power, is ranked amongst the best South of the Sahara and North of the Limpopo. However, water has continued to be a big problem across the country.

Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, Nairobi's sole water provider has not disappointed many. The firm, like a citizen at 50, has aged gracefully and might was well be dead by the time Kenya hits 60.

At one point, it is rumoured that Nairobi Water's predecessor could supply clean water reliably, around the city.

Nowadays, it is stated that Nairobi Water does not normally have enough water in dams to supply the city. That, however, is not their biggest problem. Over the years, as the firm ages , Nairobi Water as failed to construct water pipes to supply a growing Nairobi with water.

Nairobi Water does not have enough pipe capacity to supply the less-than-enough-water in its dams.

One of my neighbours has come up with an
innovative way to tackle Nairobi Water's schedule-less schedule
For the above reason, Nairobi Water has to ration water supply to various areas around the city, whether it is raining the hardest a 50 year old has seen , or whether it is the driest number of months that a 50 year old can remember.

In most cases, the tragedy would come to an end at this point, but like a bottomless well, it doesn't.

Nairobi Water simple water rationing schedule is too difficult for the firm to stick to. Once, or twice, I have my friend has been forced to consider a dark unlaundered shirt as part of his outfit. See, the laundry lady comes once a week, on a blue Monday. However, due to Monday blues or unknown reasons, Nairobi Water fails to supply water as per its rationing schedule on a few Mondays. Being a firm of surprises, it ends up supplying water on days that it promises it won't.

Other than a schedule-less rationing schedule, various city citizens also have to grapple with low volumes of water supply, just enough for a trickle.

As you are familiar by now, the tragedy doesn't come to an end.

On my way to work, I have watched Murangá road being constructed. The contractor has had to delay part of their work for months. I have counted a sewage contractor redo a sewer line not less than three times, with stinking failure.

Further down the road, near the temple at Forest Road, another of Nairobi Sewer's will overflow and spill effluent into a stream. Years of experience have proved futile in finding a lasting solution.

On my way home, I encounter slow moving traffic. It takes a few seconds of manoeuvring to get beyond a trench on Enterprise Road, at the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation. It is rumoured that Nairobi Water dug across the tarmac to lay a pipe. Old age comes with memory loss.

It is easy to live without using Nairobi Water's water for a month, but not before you get a bill, which is distinguishable when broken down - it charges more miscellaneously than for water consumed.

A silver lining to Nairobi's Water tragedy is the firms ISO 9001 certification. Nairobi Water is among more than 1 million firms awarded an ISO 9001 certification for  "quality management systems ,  designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders (cited from Wikipedia)".

I need to turn off my tap, just in case quality water which meets my needs comes in tomorrow when I''m not in my house and floods it.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinions of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives a free,  extra hangover for every hangover you get from it.
For starters, like everyone else, I discovered that beer isn’t as sweet as it looks like in those adverts that show golden barley swaying in breezes,  happy men smiling and toasting chilled, foaming glasses of beer as a deep voice does some narration in the background.
Beer is bitter! Now, it turns out beer is intentionally made bitter. See,  beer shares the same ingredients as bread. The major difference is that bread isn't fermented. Bread is sweet, so why isn't beer sweet?

Why Kenyans love Kigali (Part 2)

See part 1 of why Kenyans Love Kigali, which this articl is a continuation.

In my previous post on why Kenyans love Kigali, or Rwanda for that matter, I had mentioned on the security of the city. The post however widely dealt with the feel and appearance of the city, and a little bit of the country.

Both of my visits to Kigali have been through the airport, though you may opt for a more adventurous journey by road. Getting to Kigali then required a Kenyan passport, but no visa. Now, all you need to go through both Uganda and Rwandan borders are a National Identity Card.

For travel by air, Rwandair is a cheaper option for Kenyans as compared to our national flag carrier, Kenya Airways. Ironically, most other Africans get to Kigali via Kenya Airways, thought most Kenyans will opt for the cheaper Rwandair. The flights are comfortable and the service on board the 1 hour 15 minutes flight is great.

Depending on the weather, your landing can be quite full of turbulence in Kigali. The airpor…

Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits.

Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for.

Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.

A Kenyan's view on visiting Stockholm, Sweden

My directing editor at CIO East Africa, Harry Hare, seems unconvinced with my criteria for judging how much a country is developed. It is based on your view of the cities at night from the air. The more the yellow of street lights and other lighting, and the easier you can map the city at night from lighting, the more developed it is. That certainly holds true for Stockholm, and much of Sweden's neighbour as I could see (Poland).

Well, I have a new development index. Food. Yes, a country with more variety in what they place in the plate in front of you, and more variety in what it tastes. There's lots to pick from the menu on Sweden, starting from a variety of seafood from their neighbouring sea, to mouth watering Italian Lasagne, to choice steaks and sausages, to their herbivore salads, which the Swedes seem to more than love.

They don't come cheap though. In the old town (Gamla Stan), we ventured into a home restaurant. We did order the mouth watering Lasagne above, and …

Why can't Kenyan banks voluntary lower their lending rates?

In one of those episodes where history is doomed to repeat itself, September 2016 saw Kenya implement interest rate caps, which had been done away with in 1991.

Many Kenyans rejoiced, mistakenly thinking that it would result in easy and affordable loans. The result, however, was a distorted market. It is safe to claim that most Kenyans have never borrowed from a bank. Cheaper loans weren’t going to see them rushing to borrow from banks.

Capped interest rates also saw banks become more careful with whom they lend to. Many small businesses will naturally fail - business is hard, for those who have attempted their hands at one. It therefore makes no sense for a bank to lend to many of these businesses - you simply won’t get your money back.

The other thing with this country is that it’s very hard to tell who will repay a loan and who will not. Those who have lent to their friends and family can attest to this. There are also fewer ways to make those who have borrowed repay loans. Given b…