Arid counties to benefit from multi-billion water projects

Eight counties from arid areas were set to benefit from Sh.1.5 billion worth water projects in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four development agenda.

The funding, courtesy of the Danish government, also targeted to improve sanitation facilities in all counties under the former Northern Frontier Districts.

The Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary (CS), Simon Chelugui said the fund was a grant which has been channeled through the Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF) and assured that his Ministry would work closely with beneficiary counties to ensure money was spent for the intended purposes.

He further said the Ministry was collaborating with the National Treasury to streamline the funds flow in compliance with the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 and Government circulars on the same.

Chelugui said Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir counties are among those earmarked for the water projects with each county receiving Sh.70 million to implement key water projects for a period of four years.

He also said refugees under Turkana West refugee host community program would be jointly allocated Sh.600 million to help improve on their access to water and sanitation.

The CS who was speaking when he signed an agreement on the use of the funds with eight governors from the listed counties at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha expressed the government’s commitment to ensuring that the projects were implemented without delay and that they benefitted local communities directly.

The Mandera Governor, Ali Roba said for a long time, residents in the arid counties had faced starvation due to water shortage, adding that the funds would help alleviate the suffering they have undergone for a long time.

Roba who chairs the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) said they were focused on implementing joint water projects due to the geographical location of their counties and promised to work together as a council to not only tap the water resource but other untapped resources from the region.

The WSTF representative at the conference, Adan Omar said the funds were part of the organization’s Green Growth Employment Program which was aimed at enhancing water resource management and investments in selected counties for improved and sustained water and sanitation access by communities and households.

Source: Kenya News Agency