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New dam to end Nairobi water woes

Water Provision

Athi Water Services Board (AWSB) has announced it is looking for a contractor to build a new dam in Gatundu.  The dam will complement the three others supplying Nairobi and its environs.

 This will see the Government meet rising demand for fresh water.


Karimenu II Dam will have a daily capacity of 76,000 cubic metres. It is expected to sustain demand for areas like Kiambu, Juja, Ruiru, and the Export Processing Zones.

 The project will also include a treatment plant and transmission pipeline. “Karimenu dam has been identified as one of the strategic dams for satellite towns under the ongoing masterplan study,” said AWSB board in a statement.

The completion of the dam in 2017 will ease pressure on Ndakaini, Sasumua, and Ruiru dams that supply fresh water to Nairobi and its environs.

The move could also see more households in Nairobi have running tap water. Several city estates had been going without the commodity for some days.

 High population

The three water reservoirs are unable to meet rising demand driven by ballooning population and massive developments of new structures.

Ndakaini Dam, which has a capacity of 70 million cubic meters, is the lifeline of Nairobi.

 It supplies 80 per cent of water consumed in the city, which stands to 750,000 cubic meters per day. Sasumua, with a capacity of 17 million cubic meters supplies 15 per cent of the city.

 Ruiru Dam, with a capacity of three million cubic meters and Kikuyu Springs supply the remaining five per cent.

Studies have shown that Nairobi’s population which currently stands at about four million is expected to surpass the five million mark by 2020. The city could face acute water shortage unless the Government invests in new supply sources.

“In tandem with its rising population, demand for water in the greater Nairobi area now exceeds supply. The capital city increasingly has to deal with insufficient water resources, low water pressure, inadequate coverage and leakage from old, corroded water pipes, “states a feasibility study on the city’s water needs.

“The problem is exacerbated by illegal siphoning from official water sources.”

The study adds that water resources availability has been decreasing in recent years due to environmental degradation increase demand due to population exploitation and irrigated agriculture within the rural set ups besides industrial development in the city and towns.


The Government said the implementation of the water masterplan for Nairobi and 13 satellite towns will meet demand of up to 2035. Construction of various proposed dams is expected to add at least 160,000 cubic metres per day in supply.


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