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KRCS digitises water collection at a community borehole

A sustainable digital water project is set to benefit over 5,000 residents of Loosuk village in Samburu Central Sub County after the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) rehabilitated and digitised an old community borehole.

The borehole which was restored a few weeks ago will supply water to residents at a small fee both for domestic use and kitchen garden irrigation.

Speaking during the handing over of the project to the community, Richard Lenaisimoi, the secretary of Loosuk community water project committee said that the borehole’s old diesel water pump broke down four years ago forcing  women and young girls to quéue for water late into the night in a nearby hand dug well.

He noted that maintenance cost for the diesel pumps were high forcing the borehole committee to abandon the unsustainable project which was later vandalised.

“The Kenya Red Cross has now restored the borehole with solar powered water pumps and a digital meter which enables the community to generate its own revenue,” he said.

Lenaisimoi said that the digital meter has an application which allows the committee to monitor the number of water users as well as the quantity of water used in a given period for easy planning.

He added that for a member to access water they must be registered in the application using their mobile phone, after which they are issued with a small biometric card and using the card number they deposit money via M-Pesa in order to fetch water.

“Water starts flowing once you tap the card on the digital meter sensor and then tap again when you want it to stop. Five shillings gets you 23 litres of water,” he said.

Lenaisimoi lauded the digital system since it’s cashless and goes directly into the community’s account.

“The proceeds will be used for any repairs as well as other community projects such as water troughs for our animals, nurseries and building classrooms,” he added.

KRCS Deputy Secretary General (DSG) Annette Msabeni said that the water project is an overall drought response so that families have access to clean water.

She noted that Kenya Red Cross working in Samburu County since 55 percent of the Samburu population is in need of life saving support against drought.

“Malnutrition is high in children under five years and pregnant and lactating mothers are also at risk. We are also active in relief food distribution, animal offtake programs, cash transfers and medical outreaches all aimed at cushioning families against drought,” she said.

The DSG also said that in collaboration with the county government, KRCS will come up with long term recovery interventions to enable the community recover from the effects of prolonged drought.

On his part, Samburu County Governor Lati Lelelit said that availability of clean water in Loosuk village will boost school enrollment in the area since many children stay out of school searching for water for domestic use.

He also pointed out that the area will be food secure since livestock will have adequate water and the surplus will be used for small scale crop farming.

By Robert Githu

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