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State Channels Billions Into Water Projects Across the Country

The Government of Kenya has planned several projects worth billions of shillings to ensure a stable water supply and to achieve the country’s vision of universal access to water and sanitation by 2030. Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary, Zachariah Mwangi Njeru, emphasized the commitment of the Kenya Kwanza administration to provide clean, safe water to all Kenyans by 2030, aiming to bring water right to their doorsteps.

“My ministry is focused on realizing President William Ruto’s goal of providing water and sanitation services to all Kenyans within the next six years, as part of the bottom-up economic transformation agenda,” Njeru said, highlighting that this initiative will also ensure water availability for irrigation.

Speaking in Nakuru during a public engagement on the Medium-Term Plan Four (MTP IV) 2023-2027 at Waterbuck Hotel, Njeru outlined the State’s plan to construct 100 large dams, 1,000 medium dams, and over 4,000 smaller dams and water pans. He reiterated that President Ruto’s pledge aligns with the Kenyan Constitution, which guarantees the right to clean, safe water by 2030.

The CS noted that Kenya’s commitment to the United Nations Agenda 2030 on sustainable development requires the proper management of water and sanitation for all citizens. “This is reflected in Kenya’s Constitution, which guarantees all citizens access to clean and safe water and affordable sanitation under Section 43,” Njeru stated.

To achieve this vision, Njeru urged the water sector to embrace innovation and technology to ensure every Kenyan has access to water. He called on water providers to develop better water management strategies to prevent wastage.

In November last year, the Cabinet approved the rehabilitation of over 4,000 water pans under a plan costing Sh83 billion. This plan includes the construction of 25 medium-sized dams, primarily serving arid regions, expected to provide a cumulative total of 353 million liters of water, benefiting over 600,000 households.

Additionally, the government announced plans to implement the Sh21 billion Thika and Githunguri Water and Sanitation Project in Kiambu County, which will enhance water supply for 1.2 million people in Thika, Githunguri, and the semi-arid Ithanga area of Murang’a County. Financed by the Government of Kenya and Danida Sustainable Infrastructure Finance (DSIF), the project is managed by the Athi Water Works Development Agency (AWWDA).

Busia County has received Sh300 million for the completion of the Malaba-Malakisi water project, funded through the Lake Victoria Water Works Development Agency, which will benefit at least 180,000 households.

In Murang’a, AWWDA is constructing the Northern Collector Tunnel Phase II at a cost of Sh12 billion, while the Maragwa 4 dam is estimated to cost Sh35 billion. In Kiambu, five dams—Ndarugu II, Kamiti, Thiririka, Ruiru II, and Gatamaiyu—are planned to address the county’s water demands, with an estimated cost of Sh73 billion.

To further address water scarcity, the government has announced a Sh21 billion water and sanitation project for Kiambu County, including the construction of Thika 3A Dam, which will hold 14.6 billion liters of water at the confluence of River Thika and Kiama.

The Ministry has also launched a six-year project to improve groundwater availability and management in the Horn of Africa borderlands. The Horn of Africa Groundwater for Resilience Program (HOAGW4RP) will benefit Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa counties by drilling and rehabilitating 400 boreholes and developing strategies to protect groundwater resources.

During the forum, Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry Principal Secretary, Engineer Festus Ngeno, highlighted Kenya’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change through the conservation of 10.6 million hectares of degraded land and planting 15 billion trees by 2032. He emphasized the need for a collective approach involving all government levels and private sector participation to combat climate change, noting that inadequate financial resources pose a challenge to effective mitigation and adaptation efforts.

To address this, the government, with support from development partners, has initiated the Financing Locally Led Climate Action (FLLoCA) program to strengthen climate resilience at both national and county levels.

Ngeno pointed out that climate change has led to significant economic losses, including a 5% annual GDP reduction, and has introduced new health challenges, such as malaria in regions like Marsabit and Wajir. He reiterated the State Department’s commitment to addressing climate change through various collective efforts.

Ngeno also highlighted the importance of wetlands in filtering water, preventing floods, and supporting biodiversity. He emphasized the need to conserve and restore wetlands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Ngeno called for an end to harmful activities in wetlands, such as grazing and farming, to protect these critical ecosystems.

Principal Secretary for Lands and Physical Planning, Nixon Korir, urged county physical planners to balance development demands with environmental protection. He announced that the government is decentralizing land registries and digitizing land services to enhance efficiency and reduce corruption.

Governor Susan Kihika, represented by Deputy Governor David Kones, discussed the Sh117 billion County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP), which focuses on transitioning from subsistence farming to agricultural-led industrialization. The CIDP, which has been reviewed by stakeholders and the County Assembly, aims to promote sustainable agriculture, support smallholder farmers, and create value-addition opportunities to ensure food security.

Kihika also emphasized the importance of infrastructure development, including the expansion and maintenance of road networks and the use of solar energy to power street lights. The county plans to improve healthcare facilities and invest in education to enhance the quality of life for its residents.

 

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