The government plans to spend Sh100 billion every year over the next decade in an ambitious programme to provide water, an official has said.
Water and Irrigation Principal Secretary Fred Segor said the country currently has 124 million cubic litres of water against the required 3.5 billion cubic litres, a deficit he says needs to be resolved in the next 10 years.
“The funds will go towards robust water projects to address the shortage, mitigate against effects of drought and boost food security,” said Prof Segor.
He said the ministry is keen to boost water storage capacity through channelling of funds to mega-dams and boreholes and mapping underground sources.
“Water availability is still low, with most of it going to waste. The India Ocean is full of water and doesn’t require more. We need to harvest this water,” said Prof Segor.
“We are focusing on ground water mapping. Underground water is very important. Already, we have established two aquifers in Turkana County, one salty and the other fresh. Studies are ongoing to isolate the salty one,” said the PS.
Hydrologists had projected that an estimated 250 billion cubic metres of water discovered in 2014 on the foot of Mt Mogila in Lotikipi could quench the country’s thirst for the next seven decades.
Prof Segor said the national government is working with counties and other development partners to roll out the water projects. He said the water sector receives an annual budget of Sh40 billion from the government.
“The available water supply systems can only serve less than 60 per cent of the population, leading to frequent rationing. There is rising demand for water and sewerage services in major towns,” said Prof Segor during a tour of the North Rift last week.
In another development, pastoralists in arid and semi-arid areas are set to benefit from Sh8 billion in the next five years in a World Bank and national government-funded Regional Pastoral Livelihoods Resilience Project.
Prof Fred Segor said counties such as West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu, Turkana, Nakuru and Elgeyo-Marakwet have a lot of potential in livestock rearing.
Other counties which will benefit from the initiative include Wajir, Tana River, Garissa, Isiolo, Narok, Lamu, Marsabit, Kajiado, Laikipia and Mandera.