Tassia’s water woes did not start with the recently reported contamination with sewage, which has been blamed on road construction on Outer Ring Road.
Embakasi Ward Administrator Charles Mutinda said Tassia’s water shortage was as a result of the unprecedented growth of residential and industrial structures in the area. The infrastructure was meant to support a small community but this is no longer the case.
The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company chose to direct its water to the industries, where the large quantities consumed and the quick payments are considered better for business than the possibility of disconnecting the meters of domestic defaulters.
Consequently there have been questionable connections by community members from the main pipe.
Mutinda’s statement is corroborated by two long-term Tassia residents, James Omare and Francis Isava. Isava recalls that in 2009 Tassia was well resourced, with water from the Nairobi City Council connected from the pipe at Nyayo Embakasi’s Gate B.
There were just one or two boreholes then but according to Omare, Tassia now has the highest number of boreholes in Embakasi.
The greatest challenge are the cartels, which thrive on extorting money from residents. There are certain sections of the estate where it is impossible to have water in the taps. “Even our offices are not exempt from this bullying. Our own piping has been blocked or cut so we also have to purchase water from vendors,” he adds.
He said he suspects that pipes are stolen to serve illegal connections in the slums.
At the same time, Mutinda expressed fears that reports that the area’s water was contaminated were exaggerated.
“Claims that the water has mixed with sewage are unsubstantiated. We do not deny that this might have happened, but no one is coming forward with samples of the water for testing. Also, there have been no reported outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera.”