County government partners with USAID in water project in Turkana

Residents of Lorengelup in Turkana Central Sub County have a reason to smile after the county government in partnership with United States International Development (USAID) implemented a water project that will benefit a school, dispensary and livestock.

The project was launched Wednesday by GovernorJosphat Nanok, , USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator and Global Water Coordinator James Peters and USAID Mission Director Tina Dooley-Jones.

The project comprises a 50,000 litres elevated steel tank, one new and two rehabilitated water kiosks, three water troughs for livestock, with Lorengelup Mixed Primary School and Loreng’elup dispensary getting water from the project.

According to County Executive for Water Services Emathe Namuar the water is sourced from a solar powered borehole that yields 17000 litres in an hour and is part of USAID projects under the Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development (Kenya RAPID).

Turkana County Government will increase funds allocated to the water sector, Governor Nanok announced during the event.

In a bid to increase the percentage of residents with access to clean water, the Governor said budgetary allocation for Water Services will be increased from slightly over Sh.1 billion that was set aside in the current financial year.

Only 40 percent of residents in Turkana are accessing clean water and as a government we have a major task to provide a solution for the other 60 percent. We have allocated 10 percent of our budgetary allocations to water services but this is still insufficient and we want to increase that to 15-20 percent though every sector demands resources, Governor said.

Governor Nanok said the County was engaging more partners for support of the county’s plan to harvest surface water to replenish underground water sources, which he said had become less reliable due to their saline water.

Turkana gets at least seven days of heavy rainfall which if harvested through dams will provide water for domestic use, livestock keeping and be utilized for irrigation agriculture, but in the long term we are engaging partners to find a solution to the saline water in Lotikipi aquifer which if utilized has potential to solve water problem in Kenya and other regions in Kenya, he added.

Mr. Peters said the US government will, through its Global Water Strategy adopted by President Donald Trump and the US Congress, invest in communities that are most in need- with Kenya fitting the profile of a high priority country, has a government willing to work with partners, and supported projects which have impact on women and girls.

Mission Director Tina Dooley-Jones said with sufficient supply of safe and clean water, water-related diseases will be a thing of the past. She said USAID will align its work with priorities of Turkana government.

Mr. Namuar said the Loreng’elup project would have a threefold impact supplying water for livestock, domestic use and Loreng’elup Mixed Primary School and dispensary.

County Executive for Agriculture Pastoral Economy and Fisheries, Chris Aletia said with enough water, irrigation farming in Kerio will be expanded and promised to support more groups to engage in agriculture.

Nanok has prioritized provision of water and food security in his second term in office.

Kerio Delta MCA Peter Eregae also attended the launch and welcomed the project saying it will address the problems facing the ward.

We are grateful to USAID and the county government for showing leadership in meeting the needs of its people, said Eregae.

Source: Kenya News Agency