Baricho Wellfield water project ready

A woman fetching water at a kiosk in Bangladesh, Mombasa, August 2021. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

A Sh4 billion water project to serve residents of Mombasa and Kilifi is complete.

The Baricho wellfield water project will serve over 400,000 people, said Water Cabinet Secretary Zachariah Njeru, who added that the project was to improve the residents' quality of life.

Speaking on Thursday when he visited the site, Njeru said the project would supply an extra 40 million litres of water a day. President William Ruto is expected to open it at a later date.

“This project is a beacon of hope. It will give thousands of Kilifi and Mombasa residents clean water, a fundamental human right," said Njeru.

The multi-billion water project will boost the water supply to the two continue experiencing water shortages. Figures from the Coast Water Works Development Agency CWWDA the current supply of potable water falls short of over 100,000 m3/ daily in Mombasa County.

Mombasa has no fresh water sources and gets its supply from Baricho in Kilifi, Mzima in Taita Taita, and Marere springs and Tiwi boreholes in Kwale. The CS said the water shortage will be fixed in the next few years as the government has lined up mega projects for implementation.

Other than Baricho, other planned or ongoing mega water projects are the over Sh20 billion Mwache multipurpose dam and the proposed Mzima II. Mwache Dam will provide 186 million litres of water and Mzima 105 million litres per day to Mombasa County to plug the current deficit,

"This water project marks a significant milestone in ensuring that Kilifi residents and its environs get access to clean and safe water for drinking. With reliable water sources, communities can also engage in productive activities leading to increased income," he said.

In the past, Kilifi was hit by water shortage which led to water rationing whereby many areas went into weeks with dry taps. The CS said about Sh60 million is spent on electricity pumping water at Baricho every month.

''We have discussed and agreed and directed the CEO of CWWDA Mr. Martin Tsuma to do a visibility study within the next three months so that we can see if we can come up with a solar power project. We want to reduce the electricity bills," he said.

Other projects that the CS inspected in Kilifi included the Baricho-Kakuyuni pipeline and water pumping station which consists of a pumping station, and a transmission line, 29 kilometres long with a diameter of 800 millimetres, and storage of 5,000 cubic metres.

The Cs has also hinted at the revival of the Rare dam in Ganze, which will serve thousands of droughts-stricken Ganze communities.

Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi thanked the national government for completing the project.

''I'm happy and I can announce that the water problem in this area is over as water rationing will be over. I extend my sincere appreciation to the government for their unwavering support and partnership in implementing these transformative water projects, their commitment to improving the lives of the people is truly commendable,” she said.

In Kilifi, thousands of people have been chasing tankers, taking fewer showers, and sometimes missing work to store enough water to get through the day.