Irregular water supplies along the Mombasa coast have prompted calls by hoteliers to “spare them from rationing” and give them a regular water supply, to avoid closures and operational problems vis-a-vis health and safety issues. It is understood from a source in Mombasa that the water company presently only supplies about a third of the demand for water, but no single reason could be established for this anomaly.
While living at the Kenya coast for many years in the past, this correspondent also witnessed the demand outstripping the supply, even then, but aged infrastructure, breakages of pipes, and leakages often contribute to the water company’s inability to guarantee a regular supply.
Much of Mombasa’s water comes from Mzima Springs in Tsavo West National Park, where the waters from Mt. Kilimanjaro, which is across the border in Tanzania, emerge from underground, and much of that water is being pumped around the clock to the coast for domestic and industrial use.
While this is not the time nor place to speculate over the long-term impact of the ice caps of Kilimanjaro melting away, thus endangering the availability of water from that unique source, it is not hard to speculate about what the situation in a couple of years will be like if the water infrastructure is not immediately rehabilitated, upgraded, and enlarged, and what action may be necessary to introduce desalination plants along the coast to tap into the waters of the Indian Ocean to make up for future supply shortfalls.
Such plants, however, require a regular electricity supply, which is another issue hoteliers in Mombasa had to struggle with in the past when they had to make up for shortfalls there by using expensive and environmentally-unfriendly generators to top up their power requirements.