By YOANA KIMWELE.
Kitui Governor Dr. Julius Malombe’s ambitious plan, initiated in 2014, to construct 2,400 Sand Dams across the 40 Wards of Kitui County is set to receive a significant boost from the World Bank, according to Kitui Minister for Water and Irrigation, Mr Peter Nkunda.
Nkunda highlighted that Kitui is among the 19 Counties in Kenya set to benefit from the World Bank’s K-Wash program, a part of the broader Program-for-Results (P for R). This program aims to reimburse Counties for the costs of water projects as they strive to achieve Universal Water Access by 2030 in alignment with the United Nations Agenda 2030.
During a recent visit to Kitui County, the World Bank K-Wash task team leader, Pascaline Wanjiku, accompanied by a mission from Somalia to learn from Kitui County’s Sand Dam Water Harvesting Model, commended the county’s approach for harnessing subsurface water through sand dams.
In the past year alone, Kitui County Government successfully constructed 120 Sand Dams, with plans to continue this momentum in the fiscal year 2023/2024.
The county aims to leverage its numerous rivers, especially major ones, in collaboration with development partners to achieve Universal Water Coverage by 2030, ensuring residents won’t need to travel more than 500 meters for water.
Key rivers, including Tiva, Tyaa, Mwitasyano, Thunguthu, Thua, Katse, Ikoo, Kamuwongo, Nzeeu, Enziu, Ciiri, Mutendea, Nziitu, and Mwania, will be targeted for water abstraction. Additionally, the county plans to construct small, medium, and mega dams to harvest surface runoff during sporadic rains.
With climate change challenges affecting groundwater levels and boreholes becoming less reliable, the county looks to the combination of Sand Dam-Sump Well-Solar and Reticulation System to address its water challenges.
Chantal Richey, the World Bank’s Senior Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist based in Somalia, expressed confidence in this approach, emphasizing a five-year collaboration with Kitui in the K-Wash program to significantly improve water and sanitation services.