The Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) has secured a Sh.30 billion grant from the European Union (EU) to improve water quality in Lake Victoria.
Through the initiative dubbed Lake Victoria Integrated Water Resource Management Project (LV-IWRMP), water availability within the catchment area is set to be enhanced.
The project which was launched in Kisumu over the weekend will be implemented in Kampala in Uganda; Mwanza in Tanzania, Kigali in Rwanda and Kisumu in Kenya.
The launch comes amidst concerns over increased cases of pollution and discharge of raw sewage and industrial waste water into the lake.
Speaking during the launch, the LVBC Executive Secretary (ES), Dr. Said Matano said in Kisumu the project will target informal settlement of Obunga and Manyatta to stop discharge of raw sewage into the lake through River Kisat.
In Mwanza Tanzania, he said the project aims to connect over 7,400 households to Mwanza Waste water Stabilisation Ponds.
A wetland at Nakivubo on the suburbs of Kampala in Uganda is also earmarked to filter water flowing into Lake Victoria.
In Rwanda a sewage treatment plant has been roped into the project to improve Kigali’s sanitation and further develop sustainable environmental interventions.
To enhance availability to water within the catchment area, dams, he said shall be constructed to conserve water for use in irrigation and control of floods.
The project, he added will significantly improve water quality in the Lake Victoria Basin at the same time help curb pollution which is a threat to aquatic life within the water body.
Dr. Matano said the project is jointly financed by Germany and the European Union through the KfW Development Bank.
Speaking during the same occasion, East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Liberat Mfumukeko said the project will go a long way in bringing together East Africa nations that share the lake to manage it uniformly.
The launch, he said reflects on the long term cooperation between EAC partner states and the European Union.
The Environment Principal Secretary, Chris Kiptoo said the project will enhance the capacity of LVBC which is an organ of the EAC to protect the water massive body.
His ministry, he said has launched a probe on the stalled Sh. 80 million water hyacinth harvester lying at the port of Kisumu.
The procurement issues raised about the machine, he said shall be looked into to ensure that is operational to help rid the weed off the lake.
The meeting was attended by Principal Secretaries from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and European Union officials.
By Chris Mahandara