KWENCH -- Kenya Water, Energy Cleanliness and Health Project
P.O. Box 1336, Village Market Nairobi, 62100100 Kenya +254 726 295 675
Constance Hunt, Executive Director
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KWENCH recently initiated a project to construct a water treatment wetland on the Ngong River (the site is pictured below), one of the three major tributaries to the Nairobi River. The project is a joint effort between KWENCH and the Centre for Environmental Stewardship (CES), a local NGO established by faculty from the University of Nairobi.


Water quality measures are not adequately enforced in Nairobi and a large proportion of the cityís industry is informal and therefore difficult to regulate. The Nairobi River and tributaries receive massive discharges of pollutants from industries, particularly small- and medium- sized enterprises and jua kalis. In addition, the rivers regularly receive discharges of raw sewage, particularly from informal settlements where sewers are predominantly lacking or inoperable and toilet facilities are scarce. As a result, the water of large stretches of the Nairobi River and tributaries is unsuitable for most economic uses, let alone for drinking or body contact. KWENCH and CES aspire to construct a number of water treatment wetlands throughout the basin so that water flowing through the Nairobi River and tributaries can be put to economic use, particularly by residents of informal settlements.


KWENCH and CES chose the site for the proposed project, a broadened floodplain on the Ngong River immediately downstream of the Outer Ring Road, after conducting preliminary field visits to four potential sites for pilot projects. People in slums adjacent to the site are using the river water, which has already passed through the large slums of Kibera andMukuru, as well as Nairobiís industrial area, to cultivate crops. Preliminary sampling and analysis have confirmed that the vegetables grown using the Ngong River water at the proposed project site are highly contaminated.


KWENCH would like to construct a series of wetland cells on the river to clean up the water so that it can be used to produce safer and more abundant crops. A visit to the site by a consultant with extensive experience in constructing and enhancing wetlands in East Africa confirmed that a wetland enhancement project at the site is indeed feasible. We currently have two visiting students from the University of Technology in Delft, the Netherlands, who have commenced data collection for the baseline studies and work on community sensitization in collaboration with a graduate student employed by CES.



Two visiting Dutch students with their University of Nairobi Counterpart