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County Government in talks with investor for desalination of Lotikipi aquifer

Governor Josphat Nanok last monday chaired a meeting between senior County Government officials, Turkana West elected leaders and representatives of private water company which has expressed interest in developing a desalination plant for Lotikipi aquifer.

The delegation from Systel Engineering led by former Principal Secretary Dr. Mohamed Isahakia included founder of Spanish-based Aqua Advise, Borja Blanco who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Desalination Association (IDA).

The delegation was in the county for initial talks to explore the viability of investing in desalination of water from Lotikipi plains aquifer, found in Nanam Ward, Turkana West Sub county, to provide water for domestic use, crop and livestock production.

Nanok said the County Government was looking into finding a solution for the water needs of Turkana residents, for domestic use and to contribute to achieving food security through livestock production and for irrigation agriculture.

He said the County was looking forward to establishing partnership with the private sector for a desalination venture of the Lotikipi Plains aquifer, where the national government will also be involved.

He said that water demands in the county were huge, to meet potential in irrigation as well as need for water for fast growing urban centres.

The Governor insisted the greatest value for pastoralists in Turkana West from the desalination venture would be support for efforts to commercialise pastoralism by providing water and alternative pasture whose scarcity has hindered the commercialisation.

This will also include supply of water for Kalobeyei/Kakuma Municipality development.

Mr. Borja said the company had invested USD140m for desalination of seawater in Mombasa County and was looking into developing partnership for a sustainable project that will benefit residents and the county government.

Systel’s Dr. David Stower, former PS for Water, said the partnership will develop a plan that would transform the water resource for good use.

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro said the county would learn lessons from desalination plant in Mombasa as a plan was being developed to exploit the aquifer in Lotikipi.

Turkana West MP Epuyo Nanok who was in attendance said the interest of the people of Turkana West was for their water needs to be met and enable the region venture into irrigation for food and fodder production.

By Peter Gitonga

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