Kenya launches ATM style water dispenser for slum dwellers


An ATM-style water dispenser has been launched in the Mathare slum area of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi in order for the residents to have access to cheaper and cleaner water. This new system allows people swipe the smart card that is topped up at a kiosk or through a mobile phone at the dispenser and water starts flowing from the tap. Although this is not the first time the scheme is been used in Kenya it is the first time it is been used in an urban area.

Water availability in Kenya

Water scarcity has been an issue in Kenya for decades, only a small percentage of the country’s land is good for agriculture and the year round climate is predominantly dry. They rely mostly on water vendors who are very expensive or other polluted sources to get drinking water.

According to The water Project Kenya’s natural water resources also do not provide an equitable delivery of water to the various regions of the country and the country’s water basins do not reach an equitable area of the country. This leaves most of the population without any fresh water. Rapid urbanization has also pushed poor urban dwellers to the slums, where there is no water or sanitation, and overcrowding exacerbates the already hazardous health conditions.

In order to step up to its responsibility in making clean water readily available and affordable, the Nairobi city water and sewage company in a private public partnership with Danish water Engineering company, Grundfos have set up a water dispensing machine.

The water company is opening about four of these dispensers in Kenya and Kenyans are expecting that the scheme will expand throughout the nation.

Cost of Water in Kenya

It is reported that water vendors in Kenya are sell 20 litres of water for 50 Kenyan shillings while the water company is sells waters from the water dispensers at half a shillings for 20 litres. This is more than 50 times the amount being sold by the water companies.

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