Water has always played a central role in human societies. Water is a key driver of sustainable growth and poverty reduction as it is an input to almost all production, in agriculture, industry, energy, and transport and also useful for healthy ecosystems. It can be a force for destruction, catastrophically through drought, flood and landslides, as well as progressively through erosion, desertification, contamination and disease.
• Water is quite literally a source of life and prosperity. The significant aspect of water calls for collective efforts.
• The vision of my Ministry is to engage all stakeholders, enhance collaboration, promote coordination and create partnerships, all in our effort to support Kenya to secure enhanced access to clean water, in adequate quality and quantity to all at an affordable price for the present and future generations.
• As a growing economy, there are numerous developmental challenges that demand the meager Government resources. This puts pressure on the Government’s efforts to manage the water resources, provide sustainable access to safe water, sewerage systems, and basic sanitation for the population. All efforts have to be geared towards availability of adequate resources and satisfactory services for current and future generations.
• On March 22nd 2017, Kenya will join the rest of the World in Marking World Water Day.
• Established in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly, the day serves as an occasion for the global community to come together and focus attention on importance of access to clean water and the need for sustainable management of freshwater resources.
• The World Water Day 2017 will be marked in Mecheo Secondry School in Nyamira County on 22nd, March, 2017. This year’s theme is ‘ Water and Waste Water
• The National Government, County Governments and development partners are implementing projects all over the country to ensure that access to clean water is enhanced in line with vision 2030, Constitution of Kenya and other policy guidelines.
• While by 2030 the Country needs to achieve universal access to water and sanitation as envisaged under Sustainable Development Goal Number 6, our current water coverage is 58% while sewerage is 68% in urban areas and 50% in rural area.
• Nevertheless, the country is on track as our target is to achieve 80% water coverage by 2020 and attain the remaining 10% by 2030.
Achievements /Milestones in the Water Sector include-:
1. Completion of Water projects. Project completed in the last financial year include Narok, Masinga Kitui, Maua Phase I, Kisumu, Mombasa Lot I, Nyahururu, Othaya Mukrweini, Lamu Island. These projects has made 950,000 people access clean water.
2. Projects being implemented: Some of the projects under implementation include Baricho Lot II and III to serve Malindi, Kilifi and Mombasa, Northern Collector Tunnel I to bring 140,000 m3/day of water to Nairobi, Iten Sabor, Ruiru/Juja, Ongata Rongai, Muranga Community Water Projects, Eldoret, Chemususu, Siyoi/ Muruny, Maua, Isiolo, Siaya/ Bondo, Kericho, Keroka, Taveta.
3. Planned Projects: Those planned to start this financial year include Vihiga cluster, Kisii, Nyamira, Litein, Kirandich dam Phase II, Mwingi Kiambere II, Marsabit, Mandera, Chuka, Meru Sewerage, Machakos, Moi’s Bridge, Malaba, Bomet, Kilgoris, Matunda.
Further, on water storage, we have completed Kiserian dam which is under use while we are in the final stages of resolving legal issues for Umaa and Badassa dams. Construction of Itare dam, targeted to serve Nakuru County, has started at a cost of Kshs. 38 billion. Once complete, it will supply 100,000 m3/day of water in Rongai Constituency and Nakuru town. Other dams whose construction will start this financial year include Thwake, Ruiru II, Karimenu, Mwache, Thuci, Lowat, Radat, Kamumu, Rupingazi, Thambana, Mara, Kithini. Some of these dams will be funded under commercial financing from consortium of financiers.
• Reduction in Walking distance: The walking distance to the nearest water points in Arid and Semi-arid Lands has reduced to an average of 5 KM
• The hours of supply in most towns has improved to around 18 hours
• The enactment of the Water Act 2016
• The official launch of the National Steering Committee for the Development of the National Water Policy.
• Implementation of Drought Mitigation Programmes: Currently, part of our country is facing a severe drought which has resulted into crop failure and water shortages. To mitigate these severe effects the Government released funds to relevant implementing Ministries to undertake drought mitigation measures. Towards this end, my Ministry received an allocation of Kshs 221 million for the month of November 2016 to late January 2017 which we utilized to ensure that water reach affected counties.
• Our Bilateral Partners and the County Government of Nairobi has also to joined hands with us in the drought mitigation programme enabling the government to reach more people countrywide,
• The Kshs 221, 174,183 has funded the Water trucking/distribution and storage, purchase of collapsible tanks and repair/rehabilitation of boreholes all over the country
• The drought mitigation program in the water sector is benefiting thousands of people and livestock. To date more than 436,700 people and 120,000 livestock have benefitted through additional supply of about 8,734,000 litres per day in the affected Counties.
• In the irrigation Sector, the Ministry donated over 10,000 bags harvested from the Galana Kulalu farm to famine stricken residents in the Coast region.
• We are now embarking on a phase 2 of these works following additional funding from treasury.
Milestones/Achievements in the Irrigation Sector:
• The irrigation and water storage sub-sector continues to exploit irrigation potential for the country by increasing water storage capacity as well as increasing land under irrigation.
• In addition, the sub-sector has seen closer collaborations and partnerships of key players including but not limited to National Irrigation Board, Small Holder Irrigation Development, Regional Development Authorities, and private entrepreneurs involved in irrigation activities.
• Affirmative action is required as the country has only 180 million cubic meters water storage capacity which is far below the threshold of 3.4 billion. The storage is in some 3,800 small dams and 26 large dams. The strategy to increase the capacity requires all stakeholders so as to increase the water storage per capita from 5 m3 to 16m3 by 2030.
• As you are aware, the Kenya vision 2030 aims at improving land productivity for over 8.75 million acres through development of irrigable land in arid and semi-arid areas for both crops and livestock.
• Towards this end, the Ministry through National irrigation Board is implementing the Galana Kulalu project, Mwea irrigation development and Bura irrigation rehabilitation Project.
• Another 58 irrigation projects are under implementation from Government support. The sector has also constructed 47 water pans with a combined volume of 2. 6 Million cubic meters in arid-areas.
• To benefit the youth and women, the government has installed 650 green house complete with drip kits and this is benefitting 11,200 women and youth. During the last 2 years, a total of 85,745 acres of land was brought under production. The efforts undertaken have seen the total area under irrigation increase from 345,775 acres in 2012 to 468,025 acres in 2016.
• This is remarkable achievement and plans are underway to double these efforts particularly the storage and support to small holder projects where a total of 510,000 acres are targeted.