Fact-Checking Sakaja’s Claims on Nairobi’s Water: Sources, Demand and Supply

On July 11, 2022, the Media Owners of Kenya, the Media Council of Kenya and the Kenya Editors Guild jointly organised the Nairobi Gubernatorial candidates debate. It was conducted in two phases and the top two contenders for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat; Kenya Kwanza’s Johnson Sakaja and Azimio One Kenya’s Polycarp Igathe faced off in the second phase.

During the debate Senator Sakaja claimed that Nairobi has four water sources. Further giving 1%, 11%, 4% and 84% as the amount of water they contribute to Nairobi’s current water supply.

“Nairobi has four water sources,” Sakaja posed, “The first water source is Kikuyu Springs just after Kikuyu Campus that was set up in 1907, after that we developed Ruiru Dam in 1936 it provides 4% Kikuyu Springs only provides 1% which is 4,000 cubic metres of water.”

“The third one is Sasumua in Njambini. Sasumwa produces 11% of our water requirement in Nairobi; comes through Kabete treatment plant then comes down this way. The fourth one; the biggest of course is Ndakaini which gives us 84% of our water.”

“Every single day the people of Nairobi require 850 million litres of water but get 525.6 million litres per day.”

According to data provided in the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company’s website Kikuyu Springs indeed produces 4,000 cubic metres of water, accounting for 1% of Nairobi’s water supply. This checks out with the data presented by the Senator.

Sasumua Dam, located in Njambini, Nyandarua County, contributes 12% of Nairobi County’s current water supply according to the same report. This concurs with what Sakaja presented when presenting his argument.

The Nairobi Water and Sewerage company also reports that Ruiru Dam, which was also mentioned by Sakaja as one of Nairobi’s water sources, located in Githuguri, Kiambu County, contributes approximately 4% of Nairobi’s current water supply. This verifies Sakaja’s claims during the debate.

According to data by the Athi Water Works Development Agency, Ndakaini Dam produces 430,000 cubic metres of water per day. This accounts for around 84% of the total water supply to Nairobi Residents. This also aligns with the data shared by the Senator.

Data shared by Senator Sakaja on Nairobi County’s water sources and the statistics on the contribution of each to the county are all TRUE.

The Senator also claimed that the demand for water in Nairobi is 850 million litres while the supply is 525.6 million litres. In an article published by The Standard, The Nairobi Metropolitan Services’ Chief Officer, water sanitation and energy; Mr Mario Kainga gives statistics on the demand and supply of water in the county. According to Mr. Kainga, Nairobi County has a water demand of 830,000 cubic metres per day against a supply of 525,000 cubic metres per day. This part of Sakaja’s claim on the demand of water and supply in Nairobi is slightly off the mark.

The SI units quoted by the senator are inaccurate as converting his figures to cubic metres will not align with the figures provided by Mr. Kainga. The 850,000 is also overstated compared to the numbers shared by Mr. Kainga. Claims made by the Senator on demand and supply are INACCURATE.

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