Friday, April 3, 2009

Re: WATER WATER EVERYWHERE BUT THE PIPES ARE ROTTEN & The 193rd reminder.... to the PERSON/S CONCERNED - Burst sewage pipe... and the Council, continues..... (4th)

Welcome to the frustrating world of trying to get clean, consistent

and fresh water. You have all my sympathies and currently it's the
Coast Water (Dis)Services Board who is solely to blame for this sorry
state of affairs since they are the ones laying the infrastructure and
maintaining it, but, don't do their work! They are some of the most
useless bunch of 'employees' that our govt. and in particular the
Water and Irrigation Ministry have dreamt up in recent times.

The misadventures you've been having with regards to your pipes is a
common story all over this town. There are also illegal connections
(with the help of the water dept.), made by questionable structures
that have been allowed by our redoubtable Council in the form of
grabbed plots and allocating road reserves to their henchmen. This
further complicates matters.

RE the bore holes all over - the CWSB is supposed to regulate these,
but, doesn't. Even when they are informed of any being dug. Ask me and
what I went through when my crooked neighbours dug that well. In the
end, this was and is still allowed to exist despite many controversial
issues concerning that water. They don't even have a proper cover over
it. What they have so-called covered it with, is a grill cover through
which anything can fall into the water, short of a human!

Then, they have used CDF money to dig a bore hole within stone
throwing distance of this well and other bore holes in the estate,
which is also near a septic tank. How safe is this water which the
whole neighbourhood uses? And where is the environment department of
the Council as well as NEMA while all this is going on? I personally
went to NEMA and the CWSB and even wrote to them, called them, etc.,
when it started happening, but, it got me nowhere and instead was
threatened and intimidated by my neighbours for trying to put a stop
to their activities all in the name of 'development'!!!

So, now, I've reached the very difficult conclusion that none of our
'officialdom' and so-called countless and useless govt. department,
are capable and ethical enough to take any action and all our attempts
to stop something questionable going on will be met with hoots of
laughter, threats and intimidation while nothing will be done to
correct anything.

What they actually do, like they did in your case is all short term
fixes which will not last even for our lifetime, if they even do that.
And it's mostly all window dressing to show us that they are working.
Nothing could be further away from the truth, unfortunately.

As an example - have you noticed that street lights stay on day and
night till they 'die'? Nobody at the Council (which is the one
in-charge of street lighting), is bothered about turning them off at
break of day. And who is footing the bill? We are! So, why should they
care. They don't even think about it being a total waste of energy and
money and by extension it's environmentally unfriendly. I wonder if
they are even aware of the carbon footprint/s they leave since most of
our Council is semi and/or illiterate and wouldn't even understand the
term, I think. They don't have a reading culture, either to educate

Btw, you had better keep an eye on your water meter and make notes of
your own so that you can compare with the one you get every month in
the bill, since most of the time, it will arrive with an estimated
reading and at some point in the near or far future you'll probably
need your own readings to make a point with them regarding payment.
You'd better do this very diligently with dates, etc., too.


Protecting & Indemnity Kenya Ltd. wrote at 9:25 AM:

Dear Raziya.

Yesterday, 2/4/2009, I decided to take the bull by the horns and barged into the Water Department Offices demanding to see their engineers and supervisors about the shortage of water we have experienced in our area over the last 12 months or more. The discovery was fascinating.

The Water Department staff could not find drawings of the pipelines that deliver water into the area, as most of the staff are young, from up country and have no connection with the past history of Mombasa. They were all well versed in their trade, and were sympathetic of the suffering of wananchi, but they have no power to correct the mistakes of their department, like all civil servants who cannot correct government mistakes.

For over 12 months, I have been buying bore hole water to fill my domestic tanks, but the Water Department insisted in charging me KSh700/- per month for the imaginary 10 cubic metres of water which we never receive. Every time I talk to the Water Department staff who occassionally pass by to see and read the dormant water meter, whose reading never changes from month to month, they insist that the water is there but it is my fault for not receiving it. So, yesterday I decided to correct the fault on my side of the water pipe line, and after obtaining their verbal consent and their staff to supervise the work (I employed my own labour and equipment) to dig up the pipeline, inside and outside my compound. What I saw there was a dreadful mess. The original galvanised iron pipe connection, joining the 6 inch Asbestos main pipe line which ran parallel to the road, to the house (estimated to be at least 60 years old) was so badly corroded that it was severed many years ago and an alternative arrangement made (at least 40 years ago), using another galvanised iron pipe which was connected to the 6 inches water main line, from a point near a Fire Hydrant further up the road. Even this second pipeline was badly corroded and leaking into the ground. All these pipelines had valves on them which were buried into the ground, the purpose of which was not known.

After the job was done, to the satisfaction of the Water Department engineers and supervisors, I was assured that water will flow into my domestic tanks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a few hours to give me sufficient quantity for my domestic use. This morning I looked at a pitiful trickle of water which will probably fill about 20 litres into my domestic tank before it stops again and I will have to wait for another trickle in two days time.

This is not good news, but the worse news I heard from the Water Department staff was the fact that the department was actually contemplating to impose a legal fine of a large sum of money to all house holds who have fitted and are using bore holes, because they are taping into natural resources unlawfully, which belong to the government. On top of the bore hole fine, the bore hole water consumption was expected to be metered and charged by the Water Department. We know very well who is squandering government resources illegally, but nothing is done about it. Considering that the people of Mombasa had no alternative supply of water, they had to spend money (at least KSh200,000/- to dig up the bore hole, and another KSh. 40,000/- for the pump, and may be a desalination plant is also added to the investment, plus the cost of annual maintenance). All this expense is made just to cover up the mistakes of the Water Department. Granted that the use of boreholes does pose a danger of the ground subsiding when the water table is lowered, so this should give the water department an impetus to repair the 36 inch pipelines and other piping systems which carry water from the various sources outside, into Mombasa.

Another horrow story I heard from the Water Department staff was the case of mixing fresh water suppiy with sewage, as the two pipelines ran parallel, very close to each other, and both pipelines got fractured (may be after a large truck with heavy load drove over them) and the resulting leakages flooded the wrong pipes. It took both the Mombasa Municipality and the Water Department a long time to locate the fractures, considering that the laying of the two piping systems are not well documented. Cholera was the first thing that came to mind, and goodness knows what else.

Kind regards.

Captn. M.M. Ittiso,

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