The European Union has granted the Water Sector Trust Fund Sh6.5 billion to finance water projects across the country, the fund’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ismail Fahmy Shaiye, has said.
Mr. Shaiye said Monday that the money would be distributed to all water companies in Kenya to implement water projects, especially in rural areas that have had perennial water shortages.
Speaking in Bamba ward of Ganze constituency where Kilifi Governor Amason Jeffa Kingi launched a Sh100 million water pipeline from Bamba to Shingaro within the ward, Shaiye said the projects were being implemented in conjunction with county governments.
In the arrangements, the water sector trust fund will avail 87 percent of the finances to the companies while the county governments will contribute the remaining 13 percent to implement specific projects.
In Kilifi County, the trust fund will distribute a total of Sh145 million to the Kilifi/Mariakani Water and Sewerage Company (Sh100 million) and the Malindi Water and Sewerage Company (Sh45 million) to implement the Bamba-Shingaro and Kadzanani-Marereni water projects in Ganze and Magarini sub counties respectively.
Shaiye urged the contractor laying the 43-kilometer Bamba-Shingaro water pipeline to hasten the work so that the county may qualify for the funding of the Kadzanani-Marereni project.
Speaking at the Roma ra Pera dispensary after officially launching the Bamba-Shingaro project, Governor Kingi thanked the European Union and the Water Sector Trust Fund for the grants, adding that his administration was committed to end water crises in the county in conjunction with partners.
He said the project would also entail the construction of water kiosks along the Bamba-Shingaro pipeline to enable resident to get water without problems.
The County Executive Committee Member for Water, Mr. Karisa Kiringi Mwachitu, said the county government would also implement major water projects in Magarini and Kaloleni sub counties, which he said had serious water shortages.
His sentiments were echoed by Water Chief Officer Kenneth Kazungu, who said the projects would greatly help residents who have for many years lacked water for domestic use.
Ganze Member of Parliament Teddy Mwambire urged residents, school administrators and those in charge of dispensaries to invest in roof catchments by building water tanks and putting gutters on roofs.
He said he had, through the National Government Constituency Development Fund supplied more than 20 water tanks in schools in the constituency and called on the county government and well-wishers to do the same.
Residents of Rima ra Pera area who talked to journalists termed the Bamba-Shingaro water project a God-send as they had suffered for a long time looking for water from water pans, which often dry due to severe drought that has persisted for long in the area.
“Whoever decided to bring this project of water, on my side, is like Jesus Christ,” remarked Mr. Eric Mwanyae, the headmaster of Rima ra Pera Primary School, who said he had witnessed great suffering due to the chronic water crisis for the past 20 years he had stayed in Bamba constituency.
“There is a time we were doing examinations and we were getting water 48 kilometres from here. In 2016, the situation was worse as hundreds of cattle died due to drought while residents suffered greatly due to lack of water.
Mwanyae whose school had just received water from a county government water bowser, probably because the governor was visiting the area, said the school had planned to dismiss pupils by 3.00 pm to go and fetch water.
His deputy, Mr. Alphonce Juma Kenga, described the water project as dates as residents have never had safe, clean drinking water since independence.
He said the water crisis in the area had affected enrolment in area schools and children, especially girls, remain at home to assist their parents to look for water.
Journalists found tens of women resident in Rima ra Pera area tapping water from the leakages of a water pipe dispensing water into a 10,000- litre water tank at the local school.
Since the water was meant for the pupils, the only way for them to get it was to look at where the water pipe was leaking and place their containers strategically to tap rare commodity. Some of them left with empty containers after the water tanker had been emptied.
Dama Katana, a resident, said the residents were forced to fetch water in various water pans, but whenever the tanker from the county government reached the school, they usually rush to tap from the leaking pipe.
“The water problem is great at Rima ra Pera. We get water from Mifedheha or Kwa Hakatsa water pans; now we are here to beg for water that belongs to pupils. We have started seeing pipes being laid we feel we shall get water and this gives us joy,” she said.
by Emmanuel Masha