The old sewers of Nairobi broke down and have been unable to be adequately repaired or maintained.
With wastewater runoff making its way into the Nairobi River and the environment, officials are concerned that the already scarce supply of drinking water for the city is diminishing much too rapidly.
Nairobi spent close to three billion Kenyan Shillings to repair the sewage system.
Still, the rapid population growth and expansion stretched it too far, and the machines in the system broke down within a year due to corrosion.
The wastewater systems of the city were audited recently, and the findings were much less than satisfactory.
The Star reports:
The audit revealed inadequate maintenance of a sewerage treatment plant in Nairobi, which has broken, obsolete parts. “As a result, much of the solid waste and plastics, which is intended to be trapped by the machines escape into the ponds, thereby reducing the plant’s treatment efficiency,” Ouko said.
The existing infrastructure has been inadequately maintained, further contributing to the inadequacy of the sewerage system.
“Achievement of Nairobi Rivers Basin Rehabilitation and Restoration Programme’s objective of enhancing environmental quality will remain elusive so long as the reticulation sewers are not developed,” Ouko said.
Much of the issue in Nairobi is that the systems are built with parts that cannot be obtained locally, and so when they break down, they are abandoned, allowing more and more sewage to slip through into healthy rivers and waterways. The other issues surround complicated political and tribal negotiations for land and resources, which further hinder the construction and maintenance of modern sewer systems.
The Star reports that this financial year 2020-21, Athi waters, the agency responsible for developing, maintaining, and managing water and sewerage infrastructure, including Nairobi, secured Sh20 billion from the African Development Bank and the French Development Bank to improve Nairobi’s sewerage infrastructure.
The article says that only 48% of Nairobi’s population of 4.4 million is connected to the sewer system. Michael Thuita of Athi waters says that 65% of the population can be connected to the sewer network with this funding. He hopes that by 2030 and with additional funds, the agency could connect 80% of the population to the sewer system.