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Nakuru benefits from Ksh1.3bn water conservation partnership

Nakuru County Government is partnering with Vitens Evides International, a leading water provider in the Netherlands to invest in climate change innovations geared towards promoting smart water conservation and environmental protection to a tune of Sh1.3 billion.

The partnership will see the three water providers in the county, including Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company Ltd (NAWASSCO), Nakuru Rural Water and Sanitation Company Limited (NARUWASCO) and Naivasha Water, Sewerage and Sanitation Company Ltd (NAIVAWASCO) get at least Sh450 million each to improve and revitalize water service delivery across the county.

Vitens Evides International which was founded in 2005 has been working in twenty countries including Kenya and is currently working with the three water providers to improve on water conservation and environmental protection in Nakuru County.

The County Executive for Water, Environment, Energy, Natural Resources and Climate Change Dr. Nelson Maara said the innovations will include formulating enabling policy on water recycling, cost-effective interventions and adoption of relevant technologies, where the County was targeting to reduce water use by residents and manufacturers by an average of 20 to 30 per cent.

The targets, he added, will be achieved through promoting harvesting of rainwater, repairing water leaks at the earliest, drilling deep wells, encouraging reusing treated sewage water for farming, educating people on climate change and planting indigenous trees.

He however lamented that the decreased water supply exacerbated by climate change, coupled with increased demand, was forcing the devolved unit to prioritize water conservation policies, where the rain water harvesting policy could be adopted first to help address water shortage and foster savings.

“At home, we encourage simple actions like turning off the water, while brushing your teeth which will go a long way in water conservation,” said Dr Maara.

The CEC said the county was working closely with the national government and other partners to undertake major water, sanitation and irrigation projects, including policy governance and legal interventions, to increase water storage, and improve sanitation to promote food security in the county.

Speaking at his office when he hosted a delegation from Vitens Evides International (VEI), Dr. Maara observed that water and sanitation are synonymous with environmental preservation, adding that the county administration had made water security a pillar of its environmental policies.

He was happy that his department had made significant progress towards protecting the existing forests and had increased forest conservation areas under the County, adding that they have embarked on a campaign to reverse the deforestation curve in the region.

He pledged to work with the County Assembly in formulating policies for the water sector that are geared towards improving governance in the management of water in the county.

The CEC further indicated that his department was seeking   to be fully engaged in developing and enhancing the existing laws and policies to ensure that firms and private investors in the mining sector are tasked with the responsibility of rehabilitating land upon exhausting the mines to address the negative impacts on the environment.

He noted, “Under Kenyan law, quarrying and mining companies are obligated to restore the land they have torn open to extract minerals, sand or building blocks. In reality, this responsibility is often ignored, resulting in vast expanses of unproductive and polluted land that endangers local communities.”

Dr. Maara warned owners of stone quarries and sand mines against encroaching into ecologically sensitive areas and the deposition of waste in waterways.

Quarrying in some areas, he noted has also damaged the beautiful landscape, with some disposing of waste materials on private farms and other unauthorized places.

The CEC said some of the investors undertaking quarrying activities were clearly flouting National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) regulations.

He warned those involved that they will not be allowed to continue with their mining activities unless they adhere to the set-out rules, including wet crushing of stones.

By Esther Mwangi/Charloth Chepkemoi

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