Water shortage, drought


Water shortage

***** Location: Tropics
***** Season: Hot and dry season (Kenya)
***** Category: Heavens



While water shortages may occur in Kenya at any time of year, they are most serious during the hot dry season, when reservoirs run low and pipes run dry. Whole areas of Nairobi may be without water for days (sometimes weeks). Some parts of Nairobi are notorious for regular water shortages. Major hotels and businesses sink boreholes, thus further lowering groundwater levels under the city. Others set up water tanks, filled by pipe water when it comes, or by rainwater collection.

Slum areas are particularly affected by water shortages. Residents in neighbouring housing estates, who still have water, are normally prepared to help out when asked. When a school tank runs dry, parents fetch water in jerricans, often walking several km each way, to refill the water supply so that the children may have food cooked and be able to wash their hands. Toilets in such areas are ventilated improved pit latrines, not requiring a water flush.

Residents in housing estates usually have garden taps, which may receive water before it reaches the house in a dry spell. They also have roof tanks, which residents try not to run dry, as they provide water to their bathrooms. These roof tanks, often accessible only with difficulty, fill up with silt over the years and, if they run dry, the silt is exposed. When the shortage eases, roof tanks start to refill, initially at night, a trickle first -- one of the most satisfying sounds that can awake a light sleeper to a feeling of contentment.

During droughts, Maasai cattle arrive in Nairobi, where they graze on roadside verges and public parks, while their rural homes suffer the drought. They are under the constant care of their owners or herdsmen, who believe that cattle were given by God directly to the Maasai people to take care of them. The Maasai suffer greatly when their cattle suffer, and take every care to ensure that they are fed during a drought. Amazingly, conflict between them and Nairobians is rare, and the large herds use even major roads during rush hours without accidents happening or tempers being lost.

Isabelle Prondzynski


Mr Antony Maina, a vendor at Olympic estate in Nairobi's Kibera constituency, arranges plastic buckets for sale to area residents. He sells them at between Sh90 and Sh150 each. Mr Maina said the buckets are in high demand due to water shortage in the estate.

Photo by:
Fredrick Onyango, Daily Nation 13 January 2005.

Worldwide use


Mizubusoku 水不足 water shortage
kigo for summer
Lately we see this more often, since snow and rainfall are not enough and the population of big cities like Tokyo and Osaka use a lot more of water then they used to. The dams around the country can then not provide enough water and we have to use is carefully.
Gabi Greve


Kigo for Summer

Arranged Marriages – A Haibun
By Kala Ramesh, India

Tens of thousands of thirsty throats and more ... dry wells—bore wells go deeper and deeper to find that missing elixir of life ... water. Villages in Chennai this summer went dry.

Colorful sarees, glass and gold bangles dwarfed by multi-colored plastic pots. I see muddy street after muddy street with dried-up water tanks ...

By 2 pm, people line up their colorful plastic pots in long serpentine queues and sit down to wait ... for the Government water vehicles to arrive.

afternoon heat
women lap up spicy gossip
steaming hot

Soon teashops open, men assemble straight from work. There is talk of government, politics, sports, regional movies—of Aishwarya Rai, Sania Mirza and A.R.Rehman's Bombay dreams—a run-away success in London ...

Grandparents finding their homes too quiet start walking towards these get-togethers with a purpose. People know each other by their first names; they exchange problems for problems, recipes for jokes ...

moms knitting
their wards in wedlock

Chennai - the capital of Tamilnadu, South-India

First published in Contemporary Haibun online –
Fall Issue 2005, vol 1 no 3

Things found on the way

China faces water shortage of 40 billion cubic meters every year
AFP - Tue Dec 28,12:07


water shortage
lugging buckets upstairs
to the shower

water shortage
fifteen steps from garden tap
to the bathroom

water shortage
even the neighbours'
garden tap is dry

leaving a dish
of water for the birds
land hard and dry

water shortage
filling buckets and cans
to the brim

waking at night
moonlight and water
dripping into tanks

empty tank
layers of silt
dry and rest

empty tank
all heads lug jerricans
to the school

Maasai cattle
thronging city streets
their silent guards

Isabelle Prondzynski


water shortage -
a fly laps water
from my glass

Wassermangel -
eine Fliege trinkt
aus meinen Glas

There she was, balancing on the rim of the glas at the dinner table and sipping carefully of this precious comodity.
.. ..

water shortage -
the dark cloud passes
further south

Gabi Greve, Western Japan in June 2005


water shortage--
a man whistles to a water
supply man

water shortage--
a zipless jacket abandoned
at the dry sink

two ducks feed
at a drying water pool--
dry august

Hussein Haji, Kenya, August 2009

Related words

***** Drought
most often associated with insufficient rainfall during the rainy season, or with a total absence of rainfall when expected.

***** Praying for Rain, Rain Rituals (amagoi)

Amagoi Komachi 雨乞小町. Lit. rain prayer Komachi.
Komachi ends a drought by offering the following poem as a prayer for rain:
"It is only reasonable since this is the Land of the Rising Sun for the sun to shine. Nevertheless it is also called ama-ga-shita" (both 天 [heaven] and 雨 [rain] reads ame/ama).

[kotowari ya/hi no moto nareba/teri mo sen/saritote wa mata/ama ga shita towa
ことはりや/日のもとなれば/てりもせん/さりとては又/天が下とは ]

Usually depicted is the petitioning Komachi by the shore of a pond in heavy rain with a servant behind her opening a long-hand umbrella.

.. .. .. .. .. .. ..

From the SHIKI archives

head of Waterworks Bureau
prays for rain at the shrine
offering a bottle of sake

*Rain at long last here! Thank Rain-God.
I know a rainmaker who is head of the Waterworks Bureau of Matsuyama City. He sneaked out every morning to make secret prayers at his shrine. He believes that his continuous prayer for rain has been answered this week!

taiko drums
beating the crisp welkin -
villagers dance 'til it rains

(In some remote village it takes place.)

even the dragon
sheds tears of sympathy -
rains of joy for mortals

Takashi Nonin

See also: Saijiki for Buddhist Events


India Saijiki




Gabi Greve said...

. Severe Drought in Kenya, January 2006 .


Gabi Greve said...

severe drought -
the cows walk slower
and slower

Thinking of Kenya

Gabi Greve, January 2006


Gabi Greve said...

The Bahati Haiku Club: Drought


anonymous said...

Nairobi Water crisis:

cartman's phone rings...
another order for water

she hopelessly stares
at the heap of dirty clothes...
stinking grime

stench of filth
drifts in the morning air...
blocked toilets

Patrick Wafula



anonymous said...

abattoirs jam packed with
milch animals

when there is a drought the farmers are unable to feed their cattle and so sell them to abattoirs for some money.

Manu Kant, India