Dry spell leaves West Pokot with acute water shortage

Sunday January 13 2019

West Pokot fetches water

A woman takes her water home in Ortum, West Pokot County, on April 1, 2015. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Parts of North Pokot Sub-county, West Pokot, have been hit by an acute water shortage occasioned by a prolonged dry season.

Thousands of residents in the drought prone area are forced to walk long distances in search of the commodity.


Dams, water pans and rivers have dried up and the few that are yet to are depleting fast.

A snap survey at Nasal found residents digging up the ground for water and others in long queues for turns to drink or fetch water and give some to their animals.

Among those affected by the long walks are pregnant women, some of whom have miscarried due to the strain of walking and carrying large containers of water.

The dryness has also caused interruptions in learning at some schools and forced some children to drop out to join their families in search of pasture and water.

This has been the case before so county leaders have accused the government of not addressing the problem.

Deputy Governor Nicholas Atudonyang asked the government to intervene and MPs to raise the issue with the Water ministry.

“They need to educate residents on water harvesting and construct boreholes and dams. We are cheated and given only 15 percent of county funds yet water is health. The county and national governments need to work together to make sure residents access clean water,” he said.

He further asked the Devolution ministry to distribute water and food to affected families.


Residents of Suam, Kong’elai Division, told the Nation that the ward lacks boreholes and that most of their water sources had dried up.

Children said they had been forced to join their parents in the search for water and pasture.

Pauline Chepsera spoke of an extreme situation, citing the effects on pastoralists and their animals.

“We need boreholes in our homesteads. Our children are suffering in schools. We are forced to carry 20-liter jerricans of water for long distances. We rest four times before reaching water points,” she said.

The residents asked the government to find them alternatives and give money for boreholes to be dug.

“We want the government to work with speed and help us sustain our livehood. This drought is intense," she said.

Ombolion chief Joseph Korkimul said, "Many animals are dying and we fear that those that have migrated to Uganda will be infected with diseases."