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WORLD WATER DAY-Situation bad for slum dwellers, as they pay more for water

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Denzel Musumba

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The poor are paying ten times more for water that the affluent, the World Bank has stated. Slum dwellers, it was noted yesterday during celebrations to mark the World Water Day, receive water through indirect means, making the commodity more expensive than fuel. "While the rich enjoy tapped water in their houses, majority of slum-dwellers rely on water kiosks, vendors and private sources. Apart from paying more, they expose themselves to ailments," said Japheth Mbuvi, World Bank water and sanitation specialist. That is the reason cholera, malaria and diarrhoea are rampant in cities and rural areas with little safe water and sanitation facilities. And according to a recent water sector report, only 60 per cent of water reaches the market. A United Nations report says 250 to 500 cubic metres of drinking water leaks from the supply in many mega cities each year, as dwellers are often forced to go for days without water or utilise distasteful water. This year’s theme: Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organisations, communities and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management. Some of the barriers to increased water distribution are corruption by water service providers, unclear land tenure system, uncoordinated work by water providers and vandalism. Burst sewer lines In Nairobi, sewer pipes have burst, releasing smelly content. Households have gone for weeks without clean water while water vendors are making a kill from the scarcity. In Nairobi’s Umoja estate, for instance, dwellers are buying a 20-litre container of ‘clean’ water for Sh25. In drought-stricken areas in Northern Kenya, millions of residents have never seen piped water. For them, lack of water for own and livestock use is part of their lives. Visit www.eaatafricaradiousa.com

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