Isiolo County unveils 15-year strategy to address end perennial water shortage

Isiolo Governor Abdi Guyo before the Senate County Public Investment Committee at KICC in Nairobi on October 2, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The county government of Isiolo hopes to end the problem of acute shortage of water in the region over the next 15 years through, among other measures, proper management of the resource.

Isiolo, one of the counties in the arid region of Northern Kenya, has been grappling with poor access to clean and safe drinking water by residents for decades, with less than half of the rural population (44.5 per cent) and 67 per cent of the urban population having access to drinking water.

Deputy Governor James Lowasa said the provision of clean and safe drinking water to residents is at the heart of Governor Abdi Guyo's administration.

Dr Lowasa spoke during a meeting where county executives and MCAs discussed the implementation of the strategic plan which has been developed by the local water department in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

The leaders said they hope the plan will address the problem of water shortage in the county once and for all.

"We understand that there is a need for the county leadership to have a permanent solution to the problem of water shortage and that is why we are making all these efforts," Lowasa said.

He added: "The time has come for us to have a permanent supply of water to the people of Isiolo County. With climate change and our growing population, we can not continue to depend on water from neighbouring regions. We need our own local sources of water.”

The Isiolo Water Strategy hopes to increase access to clean and safe drinking water for people, livestock and wildlife, with a special focus being given to marginalized and vulnerable populations.

The strategy will focus on promoting sustainable management of water even as the county government seeks to resolve the problem permanently.

"For the sake of future generations, the county government will seek to enhance water infrastructure and management systems to increase water productivity and ensure efficiency in the use of the resource," according to the deputy governor.

Lowasa said there is a need to train rural water associations in the county on self-sustenance.

He also lauded President William Ruto who, following a request by the area governor, accepted to have the construction of Isiolo Dam (Crocodile Jaw) advertised.

“The Isiolo Dam will be a significant contribution to recharge of groundwater in the county, which has in the recent past been at risk thanks to climate change,” he said.

Deputy Speaker David Lemantile said: "As legislators, we are happy with the work the Department of Water has done and we are hopeful that with this strategy, we will achieve more as far as the provision of water to our people is concerned."