Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has said that nearly half a million households in the city's slums have no access to water or the water available to them is not sufficient to meet their basic needs.
The governor said that the situation has been caused by water being lost through leaking pipes and poor storage, saying that the situation has created an ever-growing deficit where water supply in Nairobi has never matched its population growth.
"My administration is committed to providing safe water to all the residents of Nairobi. In order to achieve this, we are working towards cutting water losses so that we can ensure supply to all households, especially the poor in the informal sector," Mr Sonko said during an ongoing Nairobi County water and sanitation workshop in Mombasa.
He added that majority of those living in the informal settlements do not have enough money to buy water even when supplies exist.
Water sold in the areas is the most expensive in the county, said the governor.
Mr Sonko said that his administration is working towards addressing the disparity, adding that they are also looking at sealing loopholes where nearly half of the water distributed in the city is lost through non-billing theft.
"This is in line with my vision of a clean, beautiful and healthy city where water is safe, accessible, affordable and regular. Nearly half of the water distributed through the system is non-revenue water," he said.
Mr Sonko also pointed out that water and sanitation is one of the key development pillars for the county and in that line, the county has set in motion a process to review the proposed Water and Sanitation Policy and Bill for Nairobi County and harmonise it with the national government's Water Act, 2016 and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 6.
"This is anticipated to culminate into enactment of the Nairobi City County Water and Sanitation Policy and Bill that will provide policy and legislative framework for delivery of water and sanitation services within Nairobi.
"I appeal to all citizens of goodwill to support this legislative process that will promote access to safe water and sanitation services to all residents of Nairobi," said the governor.
But even as the county works towards ensuring that every resident of Nairobi receives clean drinking water and has adequate sanitation, there are fears of a new water rationing programme returning to the city as the reservoirs holding supplies continue to drop.
Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company acting managing director Nahashon Muguna said Ndakaini dam's storage has fallen by 49 percent to 34 million cubic metres resulting in water being supplied to Nairobi being lower than the demand.
Ndakaini dam produces 430,000 cubic metres of water a day, which is about 84 per cent of water supply to Nairobi residents and holds about 70,000,000 cubic metres at full storage.
Mr Muguna said that the situation has forced them to ration water through the equitable distribution programme to ensure every customer gets water but added that he is optimistic that the April long rains will restore normalcy.
"We are supplying the city with 505,000 cubic metres of water a day against a demand of 760,000 cubic metres a day and we will continue producing the same volume of water until the onset of the April long rains," he said.