By BONIFACE MULU.
Unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene habits play a major role in child mortality. Making the remarks, the Unicode Research and Consulting Firm Limited Lead Consultant, Francis Wadegu, added that bringing the basic services to the Africa’s women and girls could transform their lives and boost the child survival in the region.
The expert also said that the water controls everything. “You can’t do the construction work without water. If you want the energy efficiency, the water will play a leading role. There is no agriculture and livestock production without water. If there is no water, the washing process is zero.
For the education, the water plays an important role. So without water there is no peace,” Wadegu said.He was lecturing the Kitui County stakeholders during a European-Climate Proofed Infrastructure Programme (EU-CPIRA) baseline survey validation workshop organised by the Kitui County Agriculture, Water and Livestock Development Ministry in partnership with the Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF) at the Kitui Cottages in Kitui Town recently where the Kitui County Agriculture, Water and Livestock Development Minister Emmanuel Kisangau was the chief guest at the function.
Wadegu announced that the EU-CPIRA Project covers eight of the Kenya’s 47 counties namely Kitui, Samburu, Kilifi, West Pokot, Baringo, Taita Taveta, Mandera and Kajiado. “We have been given funds by the EU to do a baseline survey for the eight counties,” Wadegu said.
On the county’s results based on the EU-CPIRA indicators, the consultant said the number of the climate proofed water, resources infrastructure projects completed to manage and restore water catchments to sustain the availability based on sub-catchment management plans (SCMPs) in Kitui County in 2019 was zero per cent.
He talked about the surface and ground water in the county. And he added that the WSTF is planning to work with each of the 23 water resources users associations in the county.
“Kitui is the sixth largest county in Kenya and is among the country’s arid and semi-arid counties characterised by relatively high poverty levels,” Wadegu said.“The county’s level of absolute poverty is estimated at 47.5 per cent with a population of 1,136,187 based on the Kenya’s 2019 census report.
The county’s land area is approximately 30,496.4 square kilometres,” the expert announced. The water coverage for the county is just around 50 per cent, according to the water service providers data and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data, he announced.
The Kitui Water and Sanitation Company Limited and the Kiambere-Mwingi water and Sanitation Company Limited are the county’s water service providers.
Wadegu said Kitui County has a well elaborate monitoring and evaluation systems at the public health department with the data on sanitation readily available and updated. “The county’s water department is understaffed,” the expert added.Wadegu announced that the Kitui County has no the master plan for water.
He talked about the Kenya Water Master Plan (KWMP). “Kitui is always rated as a poverty hit county. It is a water scarcity county,” he said.And he added that some 300 dams have been drilled in the county and that more than 100 dams in the county are repaired by the county government every year.
Wadegu said the water security involves detailed analysis of sources, yields, production and water demand of a given area taking into consideration the population projections, industrial development and urban or towns growth.
On his part, the WSTF Investments and Programmes Chief Manager, Willis Ombai, said: “We are doing the work for the good of Kitui County.” We the WSTF are basically a government institution.
So we are a parastatal, he said.The parastatal is under the Kenya’s Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Ministry and it was established under the Water Act, 2016.
Ombai said that they work in the country’s both rural and urban areas. “We work with the water resources users associations in the country,” the official said.In terms of development partners, the DANIDA, the SIDA, the IFAD, the World Bank and the Geird Foundation are some of the partners we work with, the WSTF official said.
And on his part, the EU-CPIRA Project Programmes Officer Martin Shikuku disclosed that the project’s implementation in Kenya is between 2018 and 2022.“The WSTF is implementing the programme under the support of the EU,” Shikuku said.
He announced that under the programme, they are going to construct a very big dam in Endau Location, Mutitu District in Kitui County. “And we are to identify two other areas for other dams in the county,” the officer added. “
We intend to implement some 20 climate proofed water resources management infrastructures in the county,” he further said.He announced that they are targeting to serve some 362,000 people in the county.
The 362,000 people we are serving are going to get clean safe water, Shikuku said. The official said that the Kitui, Kajiado, Taita Taveta and Kilifi Counties identified for support under Ending Drought Emergencies:
Climate proofed infrastructure for improved water supply and sanitation in the Kenya’s arid and semi-arid areas. In his speech while officially opening the workshop, Minister Kisangau highly thanked the participants for the good turn-up.
“We as a county are going to benefit from this assessment because it is going to tell us where we are.We are going to benefit with a very large dam in Endau Location which is a dry area by the project,” Kisangau said.
“It is the investment of the county. And we are going to get additional dams and boreholes in the county,” the minister added. He said they are committed to support the project as a county government.
The minister announced that they are soon going to have an eco-park at the Kalundu Dam in Kitui Town by the County Tourism, Sports and Culture Ministry. The Kitui County’s Water Resources Users Associations Chairperson John M.Mwinzi also addressed the occasion.