Traversing the land and magically snaking meanders to the ocean, the natural resource ‘water’ respects no boundaries even when within the international oceans.
However, jurisdictions have always taken control of whatever they can when its within their territory.
In Kenya, as one of the mandates shared between national and county governments; the precious resource remains a national resource. However, water service delivery is a county government responsibility.
As it is the case, the county government of Wajir has an extensive plan anchored and motivated by this year’s World Water Day, to develop policies on Conservation, Control and Protection of water in the county and ultimately make it available to the residents.
What is the mandate of the county in regards to water provision and how are you executing the same?
Department of Water in Wajir County Government is committed to formulation of policies, legal and regulatory frameworks for promoting sustainability in water resources and improvement of water and sanitation services while at the same time mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change.
However, Wajir County faces challenges in ensuring that it continues to increasingly support and contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.
What Corporate milestones have you covered in Wajir County towards the water agenda?
Wajir county had established Wajir water & sewerage company to mainly provide affordable water and sanitation service to Wajir county resident and its environs. Since the inception of the devolution, access to safe, clean and portable water and sanitation services was immensely improved.
Approximately 300 boreholes were drilled since the devolved county government of Wajir came in to operations in the year 2013.
Water storage infrastructure has also increased in recent time via desilting of more water catchment areas. The county government through the department of water under the water sustainability development programme has successfully constructed several mega dams to increase rain water harvesting storage.
World bank in collaboration with Wajir county government partnership programme in order to improve the sanitation status of the town through increased affordable and ecologically friendly toilets coverage and supply of adequate and clean water to all the vulnerable groups spread in villages within Wajir town.
Wajwasco in collaboration with Boreal light and world vision was successfully installed reverse osmosis plant at water minor for the desalination of the saline water and selling at affordable price that is Sh100 per 20 litre Jer-can. This programme is also targeting 100 saline boreholes for desalination process to be installed by 2022.
What creative water Solutions such as storage, purification, and drilling have you come up with as an organisation and the county?
Wajir County is planning to develop the following policies; Water Catchment Area Conservation, Control and Protection Policy, Water and Sewerage Services Management Policy, Environmental, Health and Sanitation Policy, Water Harvesting and Storage for Domestic and Industrial Use.
Wajir County mobilized Sh5 billion from world banks and 70M water sector Trust Funds under water and sanitation development to support programs in order to increase the percentage of local population with access to safe water and improved sanitation to 80 percent by 2022.
On Water sector reforms-how far have you come? Successes, Gaps and Opportunities.
Poverty has both direct and indirect relationship on the status of the environment and natural resources as the poor are largely victims and causes of natural resource depletion, and environmental degradation due to their dependence on natural resources. This is a challenge, which may undermine realization of the Plan targets and may indeed compel County to re-evaluate the sustainability of community contributions among the poor.
Pollution and degradation of catchment areas: Contamination of water resources leads to reduced water available for use. Cleaning water of low quality requires a high amount of energy, which increases the cost of delivering water to the people.
From the county experience, what are the effects of Climate Change on Water Sources and conservation?
Climate change affects water resources through its impacts on the quality, quantity, timing, form and intensity of precipitation leading to decreased water resources available for water supply, food production and social economic services.
The impacts of Climate change have caused an increase in incidences of natural disasters such as floods, droughts, landslides and introduction of micro-organisms in fresh water sources thereby reducing quality.
These have led to high stress on the national economy and human health. Climate change impacts on the water sector therefore require innovative adaptation measures to reduce the vulnerability of water systems and water services.
Your parting shot. The department has made tremendous stride in the provison of clean safe water. Water is life and climate change is real.
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