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Water ministry urges multiagency approach to tackle pollution in Lake Victoria

Chelugui (pictured) said lake water is increasingly being polluted through raw effluent discharge from factories within the lake basin coupled with erosion in water catchment areas/FILE – Moses Muoki

KISUMU, Kenya, Nov 6 – The Ministry of Water is calling for a multiagency cooperation to save Lake Victoria from pollution that threatens aquatic and human lives.

The Ministry Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui Wednesday said the national, county governments bordering the lake and civil society must work as a team to reverse pollution in the lake.

Chelugui said lake water is increasingly being polluted through raw effluent discharge from factories within the lake basin coupled with erosion in water catchment areas.

“Harmful activities in the catchment areas ultimately have had an effect on the lake and thus affect the livelihoods of the people throughout the basin,” he said.

The CS said fishing is the most affected sector with the current situation in the lake putting lives of millions of people who depend on fishing for their livelihoods at stake.

He said the national government alone is not able to confront the situation and called for concerted efforts from other stakeholders to save the lake.

In a speech read on his behalf by George Macgoye, the Secretary Administration in the State Department for Irrigation during a Clean Water Conference in Kisumu spearheaded by Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), the CS said the path to achieving water supply to the people should not be jolted by pollution in the lake.

“With this theme of Living No One Behind, the path to achieving sustainable water supply, it is also appropriate as it captures, the essence of what the Lake Basin mean to the people from all walks of life who dwell in this region,” he said.

He announced that the government is keen to reach its target of 80 per cent water coverage nationally by the year 2020.

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Currently, Chelugui said, national water coverage is at 60 per cent and several interventions put in place by the government will push the percentage to reach its target by next year.

“We will have 100 percent water coverage by 2030, as per Vision 2030 at Sustainable Development Goal number 6,” he said.

The CS said water as a key enabler for economic development will facilitate President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda focusing on food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing.

KBL Managing Director Jane Karuku in the meantime reaffirmed the company’s commitment to supporting programs that preserve water towers in the country.

“This will enhance distribution of clean water as part of our efforts to support economic development,” said Karuku.

As part of its sustainability commitment, Karuku announced that the firm has invested in an efficient water treatment plant with a capacity of 7 million liters a day.

She further noted that the brewer has reached two million people through the Water for Life programme and aims to double the number by 2022.

“Our aim is also to return 100 percent of wastewater from our operations back to the environment safely,” she said.

The water conference hosted jointly with the Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) is aimed at casting a spotlight on social, economic and environmental issues surrounding water usage and management.

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