24 April 2018

Kenya: City Residents Given Permission to Break Laws On Rain Water

Photo: Martin Mukangu/Nairobi News
Residents cross a flooded road in Umoja Estate following heavy rains.

City Hall's director of water and energy Mario Kainga has urged Nairobians to disregard by-laws "overtaken by time" that ban harvesting of rain water.

In an exclusive interview with Nairobi News, Mr Kainga said anyone arrested for harvesting rain water should contact his office for intervention.

"The by-laws that bar rain water harvesting were made during colonial times when asbestos was used for roofing. Currently most buildings that had that roofing have been renovated to have asbestos-free roofing and so anyone who lives in a building that was not built in the 50s and 60s should harvest rain water and use it for cleaning and toilet flushing and preserve the tap water for just cooking and drinking," he told Nairobi News.

The director offered protection to residents and landlords who will be arrested for harvesting rainwater.

"We at the directorate will not send any officers to go after those harvesting rain water. But in case anyone is harassed by any anyone who is misusing a by-law that has been overtaken by time, contact us for intervention.

"Water harvesting will help reduce the over-reliance on tap water and as long as it is not endangering human life maybe by breeding of mosquitos and one uses professionals to set up the water harvesting system then no official will stop them," Kainga told Nairobi News.

Kainga added that a bill that will make it legal to harvest rain water had already been drafted and will be tabled at the County Assembly in July.

"We will table the bill that has already been drafted and captures rain water harvesting as one of the policies to align our by-laws with the Water Act in July. We are also working with the urban planners to have rain water harvesting provisions as part of the building approvals," he said.

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