Nyamweya is a journalist currently attached to a leading Kenyan media
Residents of a Kenyan town surviving on dirty water as water crisis persists
Residents of Ongata Rongai, a Kenyan town which is only 18kilometers from the capital city Nairobi are up in arms against local leaders for a water crisis that has persisted several months now.
According to residents interviewed by the Standard Digital, a Kenyan media firm, the taps have run dry for close to a year now yet no action is being taken by responsible parties.
Besides, their calls to the ministry of water and the company mandated to manage water supply identified as Oloolaiser Water and Sewerage Company have been futile.
Many of the boreholes that act as alternative sources of water in the area have also dried up, thanks to persistent drought in the area.
Residents are now left to use their own devices to get water, with water vendors making a killing from this debacle.
A 20 litre jerrican now goes for Ksh 150 equivalent to $1.5 yet residents have no option but to purchase the vital commodity by all means.
The greatest concern for residents however, is the source of water by these vendors since some are known to get it from streams which are known to be unfit for human consumption.
Lucy Karanja, a resident of the town laments to the Standard that nobody is coming to their rescue despite doing all they can to reach the leaders.
“The most affected areas in Ongata Rongai and Kiserian are Gategi, Mailoji, Naromoru, Safenest and the adjacent areas” reveals Lucy adding that “we have been facing acute water problems since February this year and as a matter of fact, the taps have been dry, can someone please intervene, Oloolaiser water and sewerage company have slept on the job hatuna Maji kwa miezi tatu sasa”
She also acknowledges that at times, some residents have developed healthy complications including stomachaches, diarrohea, typhoid among other problems as a result of consuming water which they don’t know its source.
“A lot of people get complications here occasionally and we are forced to visit hospitals on various occasions due to consuming water whose source we don’t know; but what should we do since the leaders have refused helping us?” Lucy laments.
However, what is shocking many residents as revealed by Lucy is that despite the taps being dry all those months, the staff at the water company still come for metre readings.
“Imagine they even come for meter reading; I wonder what the use is?”
Some residents like Steve Wanyama blames the county administration overseen by governor Joseph Ole Lenku for the water problem and other issues they are facing.
According to him, the governor has remained aloof and inaccessible to residents and therefore, has no concern for the issues they are facing.
“Ole Lenku doesn't want to come and talk to Ongata Rongai residents ...there is a water shortage problem ...yet Ololaiser company got a bailout of Ksh 75million debt management ...there are no tarmacked roads or proper bridges across river Kandisi ...just the one the World bank donated ...his focus is elsewhere” Steve Wanyama lamented to the Star.
Christine Siro another resident has to device a survival tactic; for her, she buys pure drinking water from a shop specifically for drinking, the one from water vendors is for cooking while she fetches water from nearby river Kandisi for laundry purposes.
A 20 liter Jerican of water from a water vendor goes for ksh 100.
“If you are not careful, you will end up using a lot of money on water a lone and so you have to strategize” observes Christine.
The Standard Digital made a phone call inquiry to the ministry of water Kajiado County who adviced us to contact Oloolaiser Water and Sewarage Company Limited on this issue. A staff who declined to be identified acknowledged the existence of water shortage problem but claimed the supply system was caused by a technical hitch which was being rectified and residents will start enjoying water as soon as possible.
“They should expect water anytime from now; yes we have been having a technical problem that barred water supply but our engineers have worked on it and we are expecting the supply to resume anytime from now” she told the Star before disconnecting.
Our further inquiries on this issue has bone no fruit since our messages and calls remained unanswered.