Thanks to an initiative that was co-funded by OFID (the OPEC Fund for International Development), the UK Government’s Department for International Development and Borealis and Borouge, via a joint corporate social responsibility programme Water for the World, a two-year project to bring safe, affordable drinking water to more than 50,000 of the poorest residents in Nairobi, Kenya, has now been inaugurated.

Approximately 60% of Nairobi’s population live in informal settlements, which mean that they have little if any access to clean water and hygienic sanitation. The haphazard design of these informal settlements, inadequate resources and a perception that residents would be unwilling to pay for services have all meant that investing in these types of services has been difficult in the past.

This partnership has made it possible to improve drinking water supplies in Nairobi’s Korogocho and Kahawa Soweto informal settlements. The existing network into the settlements has finally been extended via high-quality polyethylene (PE) pipes, which have allowed for the installation of pre-paid water dispensers that provide water for one tenth the price that consumers had previously been forced to pay water vendors.

According to OFID Director-General Suleiman J. Al-Herbish, these new resources have supported a range of operations, including large-scale water storage, treatment and distribution projects, village pumps, school latrines, and schemes for the rationalisation of water use in arid regions.

Dorothea Wiplinger, Borealis Sustainability Manager, said: “Innovative PE pipes can play an important role in addressing the global water challenge. To avoid the loss of water due to leakages and assure residents receive clean water that they can afford, PE pipes are an excellent solution because they last three times longer than existing pipes, suffer fewer breakages and need less maintenance.

The official inauguration took place on 5 May 2017 and was attended by Engineer Philip Gichuki, Managing Director, Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company, and Engineer Kimori, County Executive Committee Member for Water, Energy and Forestry at Nairobi City County.

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