Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Water Shortages and Blackouts

One thing that makes living in Kenya quite difficult is that simple things do not work.

I live in a middle class neighborhood in Nairobi called Magiwa Estate. At one point this summer I experienced a water shortage that went on for a week. We also had a four day blackout.

Now, it is possible that the water shortage actually went on for more than one week. We have a very large water tank in front of the house that acts as a reserve. Therefore, it is fairly hard to tell at what exact moment the water ran out.

I have often asked myself what is worse: no water or no electricity. Sigh. It is hard to tell. In my view no water is worse. No water means cooking is difficult, washing is hard, bathing is impossible.

But the question here is why are we having these crises? Is there actually not enough water in Nairobi? If it were the dry season, perhaps, but this is the cold season and we have had rain. Is our reservoir empty? What is the rationale behind the water stoppage? No rationing scheme has been announced. Is there an infrastructure problem?

Kenyans need to start asking KPLC and Nairobi Water what exactly they are doing. In this new government, wananchi need to demand high quality services and demand that government does its job. Mr. Kidero, are you listening?