A public-private partnership has greatly improved the provision of clean water to residents of Wajir county in the past five years.
At the weekend, the county celebrated five years of the Kenya Resilience Arid lands Partnership for Integrated Development (Kenya Rapid) programme.
Under Kenya Rapid, which is funded by USAid and Swiss Development Cooperation, has increased access to water and sanitation to residents and livestock.
The stakeholders say that the programme, which is also supported by Millennium Water Alliance and World Vision Kenya, has rebuilt a healthy rangeland management ecosystem.
“Through private sector engagement, the programme has promoted investment by the private sector in development of community projects in the water sector. We have initiated a safe drinking water model by desalination, leading to the establishment of water kiosks,”county secretary Abdullahi Maalim said.
A total of 108,000 people in 15 villages now have access to clean water through various interventions.
There are 13 boreholes equipped with solar systems and nine supported with elevated steel tanks while seven villages are served by a 19.6-kilometre pipeline and 11 water kiosks, Abdullahi said.
The county secretary, who represented Governor Mohamed Abdi at the function in the Water department offices, said the desalination unit has ensured a daily production of 20,000 litres of high quality water for hundreds of Wajir town residents.
More than 20,000 people get their fresh water from kiosks with a capacity of 500,000 litres. The kiosks water has raised Sh2 million in the past two years.
Abdullahi said the county government had a strong partnership with Kenya Rapid, a programme aligned to Ending Drought Emergencies Common Programme Framework of the national government.
The latter focuses on enhancing sustainable management of rangelands, water, crops and increasing contribution of livestock to pastoral economy to promote resilient livelihoods in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (Asals).
“We are happy that through the partnership with the Kenya Rapid we have realised the development of water sector policy and bill now awaiting passage at the county assembly, and capacity building for more than 50 staff from the departments of Water, Agriculture and Livestock.”
The county secretary said that a programme known as Sweet Sense had installed 21 sensors in boreholes for enhanced real time monitoring of their operations and functionality.
“The continued communication flow has enabled full adoption of solutions that have improved transparency in revenue collection, governance, and efficiency in turn-round time for repairs,” Abdullahi said.
Sweet Sense has also identified 30 more boreholes under the management of Wajir Water and Sewerage Company for sensors installation.