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Kenya to spend 960 million annually to tackle chronic water shortage
The Kenyan government recently announced that it would be spending Sh100 billion ($960 million) annually for the next 10 years in order to tackle the country’s water shortage. The government currently invests around Sh40 billion ($385 million) a year in the water sector itself.
Water and Irrigation Principal Secretary Fred Segor explained that Kenya currently had 124 million cubic liters of water available but he pointed out that the country actually needed 3.5 billion cubic liters to meet the water needs of the entire population.
The government will, therefore, provide funds to expand water storage capacity, build a series of dams, drill boreholes and map underground springs. Apart from tackling water shortages, these projects will also mitigate the effects of the drought and enhance food security and nutrition.
The existing water supply systems provide water to only 60 percent of Kenyans. Last June, Segor said that his government was working to achieve 80-percent water coverage by 2020. He also pointed out at the time that the government was now investing around Sh40 billion in the water sector annually, compared with Sh2 billion ($19 million) in the 2003-2004 financial period.
The Kenyan government is also aware that European Union funding aimed at improving access to clean water will cease at some point in the not too distant future. Since Kenya is now classed as a lower- to the middle-income economy, it will eventually receive fewer EU funds. The Union, however, stressed last November that the aid would not cease suddenly and would be progressively reduced instead.
Kenya is also one of four countries which will benefit from a new joint venture between Amref Health Africa and the Coca Cola Africa Foundation. The new partnership was set up to improve access to drinking water and sanitation in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda. The $4.2-million grant from the soft-drink producer is expected to benefit some 500,000 people in these countries.
“Governments in this region are keen to join alliances with charity groups to tackle an endemic water and sanitation crisis that undermines sustainable development,” Segor said at the time.
In September 2013, hydrologists discovered a 250-billion-cubic-metre aquifer at the foot of Mount Mogila in Lotikipi. This immense water reserve along the Kenya-South Sudan border could, in theory, satisfy all of Kenya’s water needs for several decades.
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