Tag Archives: Water

More boreholes dangerous for Nairobi

Article published in Göteborgsposten
21 November 2016
By Geoffrey Kamadi

Nairobi. Tap water in Nairobi is a very unreliable resource. In many areas water flows from the taps three days a week – but sometimes people will go without water for up to two weeks.

The lack of water means that people buy water from wandering salespeople instead – who in turn get their water from an increasing number of boreholes.  This has led to an exploitation of the city’s groundwater, which could become a big problem further down the line as there is a risk the city will start to sink and the infrastructure might become unstable.

“We see that not only is there a risk of the city sinking, but also that the exploitation of the groundwater affects the forces that keeps the earth’s crust together. This means that even small quakes kan cause significant damage, especially in a densely populated city like Nairobi”, says Robert Orima who is responsible for laws being followed at The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), an authority that coordinates activities that might have an environmental impact in the country.

Nairobi is especially vulnerable as the city rests on what used to be marshland. The ground has layers of clay and silt in the layer closest to the topsoil, which means the geological foundation particularly unstable.
The exploitation of the groundwater also carries other problems. Robert Orima says that when more groundwater is pumped up, the concentration of salt is higher in the small amount of water that remains.
“This water is mainly being used for  irrigation, which creates problems for agriculture”, he says.

Christopher Agwanda, groundwater expert at The Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), is also concerned that the ecosystem will be disturbed by increased amount of boreholes.

-Holes near outlets and sewers can mean that contaminated water trickles down to the groundwater, and when the boreholes aren’t properly made other surface contaminations can also seep through.

-One of our greatest challenges is illegal boreholes. The migration from the countryside means that we’re overpopulated, and our water infrastructure is four decades old, so that’s why we’re seeing an increasing amount of boreholes, says Christopher Agwanda and adds that the majority of all boreholes are made without permission.

Article published in Göteborgsposten, 21 November 2016. Full article (in Swedish) here:  http://www.gp.se/nyheter/v{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}C3{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}A4rlden/fler-borrh{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}C3{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}A5l-farligt-f{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}C3{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}B6r-nairobi-1.3976838