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Water and the poor in Nairobi: from water apartheid to urban fragmentation The case of Kibera Anne Bousquet Nairobi is strongly marked by the social and spatial segregation established during the colonial era. The city today still carries these signs, but independence and certain economic developments have led to more subtle social distinctions. A differentiation within the black population itself has now succeeded the colonial racial discrimination between blacks and whites. The extent of this segregation, coupled with the economic crisis that is currently underway in the entire country has led to a real urban fragmentation.11 In recent literature the dominant hypothesis is that urban fragmentation is responsible for the “inability of the city to create a society”12 and reduces the ability to govern cities. Public services could create solidarity among the different strata of the population through social or geographical equalisation and thus participate in the maintenance of urban cohesion.13 However, the distribution of urban services is unequal in different areas of the city. The water network is no exception. Anyone who has stayed for even a few days in Nairobi cannot       providing proper water services to all. In this context, what reforms did the @ +Q   =14 Can the merchandising of the s  all the     =X  ?      = An overview of the supply of clean water in the city will show that the disparities between the rich and the poor are the disparities between connected customers and those who are not connected. The water department of 11 ! Š                †     Ÿ    social specialisation of spaces (renewed segregation, whites-blacks, rich-poor) with a variation of social   ˆ      ‹          Š !€“   / ¬ =!¬¬   "/  Australe’, in Les Annales de la géographie, No 619, mai–juin 2001, pp. 243–265. 12 According to an expression by J. Donzelot, in Kirzbaum, T. Modernisation des services publics et éclatement de la ville, sous le regard des chercheurs, Paris, Plan, Urbanisme, Construction, Architecture; ministère de l’Equipement, des Transports et du Logement, Collection « Recherches », n°124, 2000. 13 Stoffaes, C. Services publics, question d’avenir, Paris, Odile Jacob-La Documentation Française, 1995. 14 Krhoda, G.O. Historical Analysis of National Water Developpement Policies, Programmes and Institutions in Post-colonial Kenya, Discussion Paper n°4, Department of Geography, University of Nairobi, 1997. 122 NAIROBI TODAY the city of Nairobi is in fact characterised by a general dysfunction and a     ?  Q> ?     @  Bank, reformed water departments are trying commercial management principles. ‘Alternative solutions’ are proposed and tried for provision of water to less fortunate estates. However, these new arrangements can reinforce urban fragmentation as can be seen from the example of the water supply to Kibera, the biggest slum in Nairobi and one of the biggest in East Africa. If the risk of fragmentation materialises, what would happen to spatial equality (physical access to clean water) and to social equality (the price of water, its    ‹= CRISIS OF THE WATER DISTRIBUTION NETWORK IN NAIROBI AND INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSE The situation before the reforms is one of crisis. Never in the history of Nairobi have the authorities been able to offer a water supply to the whole population. In colonial times, the department in charge of the water distribution network concentrated its efforts on the white population. Then at independence, after a decade of utopia and equality, the government consolidated its power by sealing its pact with the urban elite and middle class for a high social class redistribution of urban services: the water sector was no exception. Shortage of clean water and inherited social discrimination The Nairobi City Council (NCC), through the Water and Sewerage Department (WSD) municipal board, is responsible for the production, distribution and supply of clean water to the city of Nairobi. This is a characteristic of African Anglophone countries compared to African francophone countries where the water supply is organised on a national scale. The city is supplied with ground water from Kikuyu springs and Ruiru, Chania and Thika Rivers, which feed Sasumua and Ruiru dams and the Ngethu/ Ndakaini system, consisting of four reservoirs. TABLE 1: ESTIMATES OF THE PRODUCTION OF THE FOUR MAIN SOURCES, 2003 Source Production m3 /j Kikuyu 4 000 Ruiru dam 11 318 Sasumua dam 55 648 Ngethu/Ndakaini 328 850 TOTAL 399 816 Source: Ministry of Local Government, Nairobi City Council. Burgeap. Seureca. Runji and Part-  ' > • !‚` ! # Preparation and Implementation, Master Plan, Final Report, Nairobi, May 2003. WATER AND THE POOR IN NAIROBI: 123 Most installations date back to the 1940s. Part of the network was rehabilitated in the 1990s with the Third Nairobi Water Supply Project...


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