The Government launches Rapid Results Initiative to boost national water security

Statement by Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Sicily K. Kariuki (pictured).

I am delighted to join Kenyans and the rest of the World to celebrate the 28th edition of World Water Day. This is an annual UN observance day that advocates for the sustainable management and development of freshwater resources. The day focuses public attention to the critical water issues and informs on the activities the Government and stakeholders are undertaking in the Water Sector.

The theme of this year, “Valuing Water” is very timely and well-aligned to the aspirations of the Constitution 2010, Vision 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6, with special reference to the UN Decade for Water (2018-2028); all of which envisage universal access to water and reasonable sanitation by the year 2030. The value of water is much more than its price.  Water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment.

The current level of access in Kenya is estimated at a national average of 64 percent for water, 26 percent for sanitation in urban areas with non-revenue water at 41 percent and the annual water per capita is less than 500 cubic metres, making the country a severe water stress according to the UN global scale on water security which stipulates minimum of 1000 cubic metres per person per year. To address this situation, the Government through this Ministry is undertaking major water, sanitation and irrigation projects including policy, Governance and legal interventions to increase water storage, improve sanitation and food security in the country.

As the country endeavors to achieve the right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities, there is need to recognize that water resources in Kenya are not evenly distributed.  Inter basin transfers of water is therefore very important and it can be achieved while addressing conflicts that inevitably arises from competing users through effective public participation and prudent sharing of the water resources to equally benefit all.

The Ministry has developed National Water Policy, which has received Cabinet approval. The key policy direction includes progressive realization of universal access to water, management, conservation and protection of water resources; rehabilitation of riparian and catchment areas in order to eliminate pollution of water bodies. The policy also emphasizes on comprehensive sector financing and investment between the county and national governments. Further the Ministry has developed Water and Sanitation Strategy, Water Resources Management Strategy and Water Harvesting and Storage Strategy, which are aimed at actualizing the policy and improving water service provision in the country.

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 in Article 43 (1), (b), (c), (d) guarantees reasonable standard of sanitation, freedom from hunger and safe water in adequate quantities. In this regard, the Government continues to implement key projects across the country. Some of these are; Nairobi Northern Collector Tunnel Water Supply project to boost available water to Nairobi City residents by 140,000 m3/day, Thwake dam which will supply150,000m3 per day, Narok sewerage, Olkalau sewerage in Nyandarua, Marsabit sewerage and Mandera sewerage, Oyugis and Kendu bay water projects,  Mavoko Drinking Water Supply project targeting to reach 1.5 million people in the area with clean water, Vihiga Cluster Water supply project to increase water by 12,500m3/day to serve Maseno, Mbale and Kaimosi, Homa Bay Cluster Water project to supply 9,000m3/day of water to serve 120,000 people in Homa Bay Town and environs and Chemususu dam Water Project to supply 6,000m3/day to Eldama Ravine, Mogotio and parts of Nakuru.

Others include Kenya Towns Water and Sanitation Project increasing access to 28 towns across the country and Water and Sanitation Development Program being implemented in six counties namely; Mombasa, Wajir, Garissa, Kwale, Kilifi and Taita Taveta. Currently the Government is implementing 685 Water, Sanitation and Irrigation projects, key among these are sanitation projects in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu which are being implemented on the sites which were illegally allocated but have since been recovered projects spread across the country. 

In addition, the Ministry is contributing to HE the President Big Four Agenda by implementing projects aimed at enabling Manufacturing, Food Security, Universal Health and Affordable Housing. Some of these are; Dongo Kundu EPZ in Mombasa, Konza Techno City, Naivasha Industrial Park and Constituency Industrial Development Centers across the country. The Ministry also targets to increase area under irrigation by 190,000 hectares from 510,000 in 2019 to 700,000 by the year 2022.

According to the Water Master Plan, the infrastructure development for water and sanitation requires an annual budget of Ksh 100 billion from 2013 to 2030. However, the available budget has been Ksh 40 billion up to 2018/2019. From 2019 to currently, the available budget has increased to Ksh 60 billion. This requires comprehensive investment planning and financing between the national government and county governments to ensure value for money as well avoidance of duplication in investments and interventions. In this regard, the Ministry is in the process of gazetting a national water and sanitation investment planning taskforce to identify all interventions required for investments and financing to achieve the sector’s desired targets.

In cognizant of the impact posed by COVID-19 pandemic in the provision of water and sanitation services across the country, the Government invested Ksh 1.62 billion to drill and equipped 193 boreholes and construct 193 elevated steel water tanks to supply 33 million liters per day of water to enable 1,600,000 residents access free water in the informal settlements in Nairobi. In addition, the Government will invest a further Ksh 5.0 billion through World Bank to extend a conditional liquidity support grant to further assist Water Utilities meet their operational and minor capital expenditure to enable them recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Launching the Rapid Results initiative

The Ministry targets to achieve 80 percent access to safe water from the current level of 64 percent, 40 percent for sanitation services from 26 percent in urban areas, reduce non-revenue water from 41percent to less than 20 percent and increase area under irrigation to 700,000 hectares from the current 510,000 hectares by end of 2022. To realize these targets the Ministry has prioritized fast-tracking a number of policies, strategies, guidelines, legal and institutional reforms as well as the implementation of programmes and projects.

In this regard, the Ministry will today launch the Rapid Results initiative program that prioritizes the completion of projects whose progress rate is 85 percent and above. During the 100 days RRI period, the Ministry will ensure the completion and commissioning of 77 projects including several community boreholes and household water pans. The other areas of focus include finalization of the water and irrigation policies, regulations, strategies, institutional reforms, enhancement of water sector corporate image, and monitoring and evaluation for results in project implementation.

Finally, I would like to thank His Excellency the President for his continued support to the Ministry. I also appreciate stakeholders including our Development Partners and County Governments for their support to the Ministry towards the realisation of its projects and mandate to ensure the increased provision of Water, Sanitation, Food Security the “Big Four” Agenda.