Published: 28. May 2024

Kenya experienced large amounts of rain – but lacks clean drinking water

Thika Water Web

Kenya experienced cloudbursts in the spring. However, the lack of water and drinking water is a challenge for Kenya and the city of Thika, where Aarhus Vand contributes with knowledge about reducing water loss, wastewater treatment and drinking water production.

April 2024, they experienced cloudbursts in Kenya. Aarhus Vand happened to be in Kenya at the time because we have a collaboration with a utility called Thika Water and Sewerage Company in the city of Thika, which has 280,000 inhabitants. For the past 10 years, they have not had seasonal rains in Kenya.

Therefore, for example, parking lots have been built where there used to be a river and houses where there used to be canals with water. Kenya has had a lot of droughts, but is dependent on surface water, which they purify for drinking water.

Water loss is the biggest challenge

During the visit to Kenya, we prepared a vision for the collaboration, which we share with VandCenter Syd in the 3VAND collaboration. Mutual building of knowledge was among the objectives. Therefore, several employees, both technicians and managers from Thika Water, will visit Aarhus Vand to be inspired.

Thika Water is among Kenya's most skilled water companies at measuring consumption. They invoice up to 99% of all consumption. But the biggest challenge, according to them, is water loss. They have 150 leakages a day and six teams that drive around and repair fractures.

Claus Homann
Two technicians from Thika Water will be visiting Aarhus Vand in September, where we hope that our methods for e.g. leak detection or perhaps welding can be an inspiration for them and contribute to reducing the number of leaks and water loss.
- Claus Homann, CSO, Aarhus Vand

Interesting Digital Solutions in Kenya

He further explains that asset management and pipeline valuation is the next step. Building a database where breaches are registered, so that it is easier to identify areas where the pipe network should be replaced, is also one of the objectives. In Kenya, they are experienced digital users which can be of inspiration in Denmark.

"Thika Water's customers pay digitally every month with a system, like a kind of mobile pay. It must be mobile and flexible. In general, they are very good at using apps and have interesting digital solutions," says Claus Homann.

A growing city requires a new wastewater treatment plant

Thika is a growing city and therefore they also have plans to build a new treatment plant extracting biogas for heat and power purposes. In our collaboration, we will also provide input on how they can build and operate a new wastewater treatment plant. The project also involves a new production plant for drinking water of surface water, where the need cannot be met today.

The Kenya Twinning project is supported by Danida Sustainable Infrastructure Funds and realized as a 3VAND project.