Mystery of half-empty Ndakaini Dam despite heavy rains
8 months ago, 25 Apr 23:38
Nairobi residents will continue grappling with water rationing as mystery of lack of water at Ndakaini Dam despite heavy rains at the Aberdares deepens.
While meteorological reports indicate that the Aberdares region had received heavy rains of more than 100mm in the past few weeks – enough to have recharged the aquifers and perhaps fill the 70 million cubic metre dam – Ndakaini remains the only dam in Kenya that has not benefited from the ongoing rains.
The implication of this is that six million city residents will be at the mercy of water vendors.
Lately, water vending has turned out to be a multimillion shilling venture, with new bowsers criss-crossing city estates selling water.
Ndakaini Dam Coordinator Job Kihamba, while taking the Nation crew on a tour of the dam, denied reports that there are cartels leaking the dam’s water to create an artificial shortage.
“There is no outlet that the water can flow out from. Even Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company has been forced to shut supply from the dam to allow the water levels to rise,” he said.
“At the moment, the city is relying on Sasumwa and Ruiru Dams to supply water to Nairobi.”
It is a paradox since both Sasumwa and Ruiru dams rely on the same Aberdare water catchment and are by far smaller than Ndakaini.
The mystery on what has happened at Ndakaini is deeper since Nairobi Water has been running without a board since August last year.
This is after the Raphael Nzomo-led board was suspended by Governor Mike Sonko following a workers’ strike.
The workers had downed their tools after the board refused to renew the contracts of Managing Director Philip Gichuki, Commercial’s Stephen Mbugua, Finance’s Johnson Randu and HR Director Rosemary Kijana over non-performance claims.
A Nation’s fact finding mission found that Ndakaini is only a third full with only 23.6 billion litres of water.
With that, officials manning the dam say they cannot guarantee that Nairobi will have full supply of water.
“What we can guarantee is that the dam will not fill fully even with the rains.
"But if the levels can reach 60 per cent, we will be good to go until for the next season. Nevertheless, the rationing will continue because the population is high,” Mr Kihamba said.
The main rivers that drain into Ndakaini are Thika, Githika and Kayuyu.
Thika contributes 50 per cent, Githika 30 per cent and Kayuyu 20 per cent of the water at the reservoir.
A meteorological station at Tuthu in Murang’a – in the same geographical area as Ndakaini - recorded more than 100 mm of precipitation, which is characterized by heavy rains and flooding.
“If the catchment area is receiving rainfall and the dam is not keeping water, the only possible explanation is that it has serious cracks and that Nairobi Water officials have poor gauging networks downstream. They could have now known what is happening,” a meteorologist based ...
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