Overview of Water Situation in Kenya
Water scarcity continues to be a global challenge as the population increases coupled with erratic climate patterns that have led to floods, rising sea levels, and global warming. These changes have negative impact on food security, health and general social-economic development.
The water coverage in the country is currently estimated at a national average of 70%, and a target of 80% coverage by the year 2022. On the other hand, the annual water per capita is less than 500 cubic metres, making the country a severe water stress according to the UN global scale on water security which stipulates a minimum of 1000 cubic metres per person per year.
Further, the 2021 Long Rains Season Assessment Report estimated that 2.4 Million people faced acute food insecurity in 2021 and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. This is attributed to less rain experienced in the country during the year. The Kenya Meteorological Department, in its forecast for the October-November-December 2021 short rains season shows that most parts of the country will experience depressed and poorly distributed short rains that will start late and cease early, with Eastern region being the worst hit.
Economic Benefits for Dams in Kenya
Economic growth and food production will be boosted through irrigation which requires investment in water storage and not dependence on rain-fed agriculture. As far back as 20 years ago, the Ministry had planned and completed designs of the large dams under construction among others.
Vision 2030 sets the goal of increasing the country’s per capita storage capacity to 16 cubic metres by 2012. Towards this end, Government has provided funds to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation for construction of 5 large dams in line with the strategy.
The following are some of the immediate economic benefits of large Dams construction in the Country:
- To harvest rainwater during the rainy seasons hence store water for use during drought while mitigating against the effects of flood control.
- To minimize the effects drought and climate change. Water storage in various water infrastructure such as dams and boreholes will provide irrigation water thereby saving the government approximately Kshs 30billion for food imports.
- To increase the coverage of water services in the country and support the efforts to achieve the MDGs.
- Provision of clean and portable water is a preventive measure in reducing the prevalence of water borne diseases in the country.
- Availability of water for livestock production in ASAL areas of the country hence, improved and sustained livelihoods.