Water Supply to Nairobi
What it costs you
An environmental impact assessment commissioned by AWSB in 2009 found that although 50% of Nairobi’s population lives in informal settlements (slums), their water consumption is about 34,500m3/day, which amounts to only 8% of NCWSCs total daily supply to the city of Nairobi, after discounting losses in the distribution network. The report further states that approximately 75% of these city residents get water from pushcart vendors and resellers at water kiosks. These vendors’ prices currently range between Ksh 5 and Ksh 10 per 20lt plastic jerrycan which amounts to between Ksh 250/m3 and Ksh 500/m3. This makes the cost over 26 times higher than the regulation rate of Ksh 18.71/m3 for domestic consumers, as published by Athi Water Service Board in their current water tariff structure. City residents connected to piped water are charged using the published tariff structure. This large disparity in water prices with Nairobi’s poor paying an exorbitant price that aggravates their already precarious economic circumstances is attributed to many factors. A report by Birongo and Quyen Le on water governance in Kibera points to corruption in the relevant public and private institutions as one of the major contributory factors.
Some of the middle class city suburbs with piped water also have to contend with high water prices from pushcart vendors during periods of water rationing. A 20lt water jerrycan at such times can go for anywhere between Ksh 20 and Ksh 50, which translates to between Ksh 1,000/m3 and Ksh 2,500/m3. Those who’ve installed large storage tanks in their homes get a better deal from water tankers that typically go for about Ksh 4,000 for 8,000lt, which translates to Ksh 500/m3, about the same cost levied on the urban poor.