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In some neighborhoods in drought-prone Kenya, clean water is scarce. Filters are one solution.

WRITTEN BY EMMANUEL IGUNZA

BONDENI-JUA KALI, Kenya (AP) — As the sun rises in the Bondeni-Jua Kali neighborhood on the outskirts of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, dozens of women and men step out of their corrugated iron homes with yellow jerricans, skip over pools of sewage and make their way to a nearby water vending station.

There is no piped water or sewage system in the area, and drought has made clean water supplies more scarce and expensive for locals. Twice a week, trucks with 5,000 to 10,000 liters (1,300 to 2,600 gallons) of water will fill up vending stations across Athi River where residents can buy 20 liters (five gallons) for 20 Kenyan Shillings ($0.16). A household of four needs about five gallons a day, and weekly incomes are about $13, according to data from Kenya’s Finance Ministry.

But for those whose homes are kitted out with water filters distributed by a local nonprofit, the nearby river — polluted, prone to drought and usually unsafe for drinking — is becoming a cheaper and sometimes more reliable source of clean water. And while advocates say underlying issues like climate change -fueled drought and poor water management need to be urgently addressed, solutions like filters make a short-term difference because deliveries are often not enough for the neighborhoods’ needs.

Learn more here.

LAST UPDATED

December 8, 2023

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EMMANUEL IGUNZA

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