New project to drill, rehabilitate boreholes in five arid counties

Water PS Julious Korir. [Standard, File]

Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation (MoWSI) has launched a six-year project to improve groundwater availability and management in the Horn of Africa borderlands.

The project, dubbed the Horn of Africa Groundwater for Resilience Program (HOAGW4RP), will benefit the counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa, which are prone to drought and water scarcity.

The project aims to increase sustainable access to and management of groundwater by drilling and rehabilitating 400 boreholes, providing strategies and policies to protect groundwater resources, and building the capacity of water service providers and users.

 The project will also establish a National Project Steering Committee to oversee its implementation, which will follow the guidelines of the Project Operations Manual (POM).

Water Principal Secretary Julius Korir flagged off the initiative in Naivasha on Wednesday, February 7.

 He said the project was part of the government’s efforts to enhance resilience and livelihoods in the arid and semi-arid regions.

“These counties are going to be supported with the establishment of 400 boreholes, that is, rehabilitation of the ones that are not working well and also drilling of new ones,” he said.

“In addition, the programme will provide strategies and policies on how to manage and protect groundwater resources, which includes the protection of water reservoirs,” he added.

At the same time, Korir said there will be a capacity-building component for all the agencies that are participating.

“These are the agencies within the county government, within water service providers, so that they can also serve the citizens well. The water resource users association will also build their capacity so that they can be part and parcel of support and protection of underground water reservoirs,” he said.

The project is funded by the World Bank and is being implemented by the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation in collaboration with the Water Resources Authority and other water sector institutions.

Korir urged the stakeholders and beneficiaries to cooperate and ensure the project’s success, saying it would contribute to the country’s vision of universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.

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