Kisii is among eight counties in Western Kenya that are set to benefit from water projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Western Kenya Water Project (WKWP).
The project is a five-year initiative that aims to improve both urban and rural water infrastructure and will also be implemented in Bungoma, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Busia, Kisumu, Migori and Siaya counties.
Speaking during a meeting with stakeholders from the water and financial sectors at a Kisii hotel, Kisii Governor Simba Arati said the project will enable thousands of Kisii residents to access clean and safe drinking water.
“The project will see an increased and well-maintained water supply in urban areas through the Gusii Water and Sanitation Company (GWASCO) and I have directed officers in the water department to ensure there is efficient water supply in rural areas,” said Arati.
The Governor noted his administration plans to focus on the protection of water springs, rehabilitation of water schemes, drilling of additional boreholes, and equipping of the existing ones in an effort to relieve the residents from travelling long distances in search of the essential commodity.
The County Boss added that he will involve all stakeholders including elected leaders in the 45 wards in developing a viable plan that will see a majority of Kisii residents benefit from the project.
Kisii Deputy Governor, Dr. Robert Monda said the county will work hand in hand with the partner to ensure the project is successfully implemented so that the urban and rural populations access clean water.
Despite Kisii County having a variety of sources of water in the county such as permanent rivers, streams, springs, and roof catchments, most of the water remains untreated except for the Kisii Water Supply.
The project’s Chief of Party, Japheth Mbuvi, noted the project links different components that are critical to county-wide sustained service delivery both in rural and urban water services, Water Resource Management (WRM), good governance and financing strategies that help a sector to grow and satisfy customers.
Mbuvi said the team will work within five components including Urban Water Services, Rural Water Services, Water Resource Management, Finance and Private Sector Engagement, and Policy and Governance.
Patrick Mburu, the project’s Urban Water Specialist, pointed out that WKWP employs an efficient and collaborative locally-led approach that uses the natural, human, and financial resources available in the counties.
He said the project will emphasize on promoting the inclusion of women and youth through a participatory process, capacity-building, partnerships, and the creation of leadership and employment opportunities within the sector.
In the recent past, Kisii County has faced the pressing challenge of a clean and affordable water supply with Governor Arati attributing the shortage to infighting among the members of GWASCO.
The County Boss pointed out that the wars have stopped, and the water management board will be working together with the county government to construct an additional 35 kilometers of distribution pipeline to supply water to additional areas within Kisii.
By Mercy Osongo