State faulted on drought preparedness

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has criticised the Government for failing to put in adequate measures to deal with drought.

He said it was sad that three years after one of the region’s worst droughts, very little had been done to deal with the situation.

Muturi told a conference of MPs and Speakers from all over the world in Daegu, South Korea, that unless regional bodies such as the African Union make sure water issues are fixed, the much-sought after better life will remain a mirage.

“The situation we face is desperate, yet the future survival of millions of citizens of this planet and the generations to come demand immediate and effective action now. We cannot wait,” said Muturi late Wednesday.

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The Speaker said that “poor drinking water and poor sanitation costs Kenya Sh27 billion every year, health care costs Sh4.3 billion, access time Sh2.2 billion, and Sh300 million in productivity losses”. Premature deaths as a result of waterborne diseases cost the country Sh20 billion, the Speaker added.

“We say in Swahili ‘Wakati ni sasa’ meaning, ‘Now is the time’. If this is not the time to provide universal clean and safe drinking water, then when? That is why I strongly suggest we pull all the necessary strings to make it happen,” the Speaker added.

Muturi said the Water Bill, 2014, which is awaiting final reading — the Third Reading in the National Assembly —will partly address the water problems in the country.

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He said the bill, once enacted, will open the policy and regulation doors to allow Kenyans to realise the “right to clean drinking water” as envisaged in the Constitution.

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Justin MuturiWater Billdrought