, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – A Sh18.3 million water project seeking to provide the precious commodity to more than 8,500 people living in Mwingi District has been launched.
Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet said that the project, which is 15 kilometres of piped water, will help alleviate the food and water shortage prevalent there.
“There was need for water. The area has got a water shortage. In this community people used to travel 13 to 15km looking for water,” he said.
“There is a need for everyone to get water in to their homes as opposed to travelling this far to get water,” he stated.
The Red Cross Secretary General described the commissioning of the water project as a milestone in the provision of clean and safe water to the vulnerable communities.
A teacher at Katalwa Primary School in the area Anne Kimanzi recounted that due to the adverse water shortage and lack of food many students were performing poorly in terms of their education.
“If we have covered a topic in the absence of some, when they come back it is a problem because you have to begin from scratch and if you do not do that, then you will have some students lagging behind,” she stated, adding that students coming from well to do families faired better.
“The students who come from the middle class families at least are in a position to put something into their stomachs on a daily basis so at least those ones can perform better,” Ms Kimanzi said.
Phase I of the project consists of the construction of a 2.2km rising main and 4.8km distribution main pipes; the construction of three water kiosks, the building of a 50,000 litre masonry tank and the rehabilitation of the pump house.
A borehole was drilled and equipped with a submersible pump and a genset, but no pipe work was done and thus the borehole could not deliver adequate water during dry seasons.
Mr Gullet explained further that in the face of these inadequacies, the Kenya Red Cross Society sought an alternative solution which involved the laying of a pipeline from Tyaa borehole in Mumbuni to Katalwa, making a connection to the Mumbuni Centre Tank, and adding two water kiosks for the Mumbuni community.
In the meantime, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said on Monday that every available manpower should be harnessed to build dams and boreholes across the country to conserve water.
He explained that this will make it easier for people who live in arid and semi-arid areas to cope during the dry season.
“Let us use every means available to us to be able to construct boreholes and dams. There are many prisoners doing time, some for three months and others for one year,” he observed.
“I know that even the armed forces would want to do something.”
He was speaking in Mwingi District where he emphasised the need to use water produced by seasonal rivers economically.
“This is the time to work on those seasonal rivers and it is not difficult to map them so that we make sure that the amount of water that will run into the India ocean come November is accumulated,” he stated.