Govt rolls out Sh14bn school water project - Daily Nation

Govt rolls out Sh14bn school water project

Sunday August 21 2016

A pupil drinks water directly from a tap at their school in Budalang'i on July 22, 2016. The 'water for schools project' aims at ensuring learners access safe clean water. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A pupil drinks water directly from a tap at their school in Budalang'i on July 22, 2016. The 'water for schools project' aims at ensuring learners access safe clean water. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JUSTUS WANGA
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The government has rolled out an ambitious Sh14 billion water project that targets 12000 schools across the country.

Modelled on the ‘powering schools’ format, an undertaking by the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), the project aims to ensure that every school is either connected to water supply system or at least has a reliable borehole.

Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said his ministry is working with REA to ensure water connectivity is achieved in all schools.

On Saturday, Mr Wamalwa said when complete, the exercise would not only boost school enrolment but also provide an extra source of food for the learners.

“Water for schools project is to ensure learners access safe clean water and spend more time in school than spend time on other chores.”

He said with the pilot currently being implemented in Wajir and other Arid and Semi-Arid areas, micro-irrigation projects in schools will be some of the biggest beneficiaries.

“Of the amount, Sh1.1 billion will come from Water Service Trust Fund,” he said.

He said the project will not be limited to boreholes alone: “We shall also invest in huge water tanks to ensure sustainability and consistency in supply of water,” he said.

When he visited Egypt two days ago, Mr Wamalwa secured a Sh550 million that he announced will be channelled to building of dams, water pans and boreholes.

“Right now, only 10000 out of about 22000 schools have access to clean water,” he said.

REA chairman Simon Gicharu said the partnership will see the use electricity in those institutions to pump water.

“I used to carry water to school when I was a young boy, it is high time we enabled the school going children to instead carry water back home. In the face of existing shortage, they are not even able to drink clean and safe water as recommended by nutritionists,” he said.

Powering schools has been able to connect almost all schools to the national grid with those outside the connection system being connected on solar power.

“Water kiosk shall be erected at the gates of all primary schools for local communities to draw water. This will be done without interfering with learning,” the CS said.

A recent assessment commissioned by the United Nations indicate that about 4,000 children die each day as a result of diseases caused by ingestion of unsafe water.

It further says four out of every 10 people in the world, particularly those in Africa and Asia, do not have clean water to drink.