Kenyan Capital Plans to Cut Tap Water to Repair Treatment Plant

Authorities in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, plan to cut piped-water supplies in most parts of the city over two days next month while the main treatment plant is repaired and its production capacity is increased.

The shutdown will affect areas including the international airport, the United Nations campus, the city’s industrial area and companies such as Coca-Cola Co. and Kenya Breweries Ltd., Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Co. said today in an e-mailed statement. The utility will stop the supply of treated water at 6 a.m. local time on Aug. 1 and restart the system by 6 p.m on Aug. 2., it said.

Nairobi, which contributes 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, consumes 650,000 cubic meters of water a day, according to 2010 data on the website of GRID-Arendal, which conducts environmental research in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme. The city is struggling to meet demand because of population growth, an inadequate water-distribution network and “climate shocks,” according to GRID-Arendal, based in Norway.

About three-quarters of Kenyan slum dwellers don’t have access to piped-water supplies, meaning they have to collect water in containers from private vendors, London-based Amnesty International said in a report released in 2009.

As a result of the upgrade, capacity at the Ngethu treatment plant will increase 5 percent to 507,000 cubic meters a day, Nairobi City Water said. The work next month will repair damage sustained during the April to May long rainy season and provide reinforcements to the system before the short rains start in September, according to the statement.

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