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National Water hosted the first Kenya National Dam Conference on 8-9th March 2018 at Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa, Mombasa. CS, Water & Sanitation Ministry, Mr. Simon Chelugui was the Chief Guest. The conference theme: “Synergy in Water Resources Infrastructure for Water Security” was aimed to achieve the following objectives:        

• Understand the achievements and impacts of water storage in Kenya
• Attain holistic approach and involvement of a stakeholders in understanding and mitigating against water insecurity in Kenya.
• Address the challenges and seek out solutions to water insecurity in Kenya
• Optimization of dam planning and design towards hydraulic and structural integrity
• Highlight challenges encountered in planning and design of dam structures.
• Understand the need of surveillance & institutional mechanism for dam monitoring.
• Emerging issues of dam instrumentation and monitoring.
• Studies of extreme distress conditions and approaches for mitigation.
• Sharing knowledge, experiences and recent technologies in dam planning and implementation.
• Address dam social and environmental management processes and their effectiveness.
• Provide a platform for sharing experiences and ideas in water storage in Kenya.
• Create/enhance synergy in various departments in water storage in the country.
• Showcase efforts done towards combating drought and water scarcity in Kenya.
• Energize and renew commitment in enhancing the country’s water storage.

The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water and Sanitation Mr. Simon Chelugui congratulated National Water for organizing the Dam conference which was the first to be held in Kenya. “The Government target is to achieve 80% coverage of water services by the year 2020 from the current level of 60% and 100% coverage by 2030 as per Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development goal no 6.” Said the CS.

The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water and Sanitation Mr. Simon Chelugui

The CS added that the Ministry have put in place plans and strategies to ensure increase access to water is achieved. “To achieve universal access to water by the year 2030, we require to spend Ksh 1.764 trillion which translate to annual requirement of Ksh 100 billion. The sector however, receives only Ksh 40 billion annually, leaving a financing gap of Ksh 60 billion.” The CS said.
Most importantly, the CS reiterated the Ministry’s commitment the big for agenda by the President. He said the initiatives of Food Security, Universal Health Care, Manufacturing and Affordable Housing cannot be achieved without water. Provision of safe water in sufficient quantities is an enabler to the big four initiatives.
The CS urged delegated to come up with ways of reducing cost of dam construction which he noted was the highest in Africa.
The CS, Ministry of Environment and Natural resources Mr. Keriako Tobiko said his Ministry will work closely with that of water to ensure the environment is conserved even as dams are constructed to increase access to water. He was represented by the PS, Mr. Charles Sunkuli.

PS, Ministry of Environment and Natural resources Mr. Charles Sunkuli

On her part, the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Water & Sanitation Ms. Winnie Guchu said several policies to steer the water sector going forward are at various stages of development. “Planning and development of projects like Dams is critical in sector management to attain its objectives. The country as you may be aware, is behind schedule in the achievement of universal access to water. We also need to remember that local initiatives need to be supported so as communities can be assisted to contribute towards embracing household water harvesting and storage.” Said the CAS
Ms. Guchu emphasized that water is an enabler to attainment of the big four agenda. She added that women and girls would be the biggest beneficiaries of access to water as they will dedicate their time to educational and economic activities.

Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Water & Sanitation Ms. Winnie Guchu

In his speech during the closing ceremony of the conference, the PS in the Ministry of Water & Sanitation Mr. Joseph Irungu said that as a Ministry, they appreciated the discussions that went on in the conference and that the proposed solutions will be crucial in shaping the implementation of the Water Act 2016.
“We have gained a better understanding about various issues on dam construction and water resource management ranging from dam environmental and social impact, hydropower generation and hydrology, dam contribution to climate change and many more.” Said the PS. His speech was read by the Secretary Administration, Mr. Joseph Keter.

Mr. Joseph Irungu, Ps Ministry of Water & Sanitation.

NWHSA Board Chairman Hon. Dr. Julius Kones noted that the conference coincided with the International women’s day. He said that the biggest gift we can give to our mothers, sisters and daughters is access to clean water. The Chair emphasised the issue of funding for the dam projects saying; “It is time we think outside the box on this crucial issue. Public sector funding and resources are often inadequate to meet increasing demands for investment and effective management. In this regard, there is increased involvement by the private sector in provision of water infrastructure and services through PPP arrangements globally.”

He added that The National Water Master Plan (NWMP) 2030 addresses the water resource management challenges in Kenya and sets out plans to support the realization of Vision 2030. The NWMP anticipates the development of a total of 17,860 small dams and water pans adding an additional 893 Million Cubic Meters. This represents a significant investment in water storage.

The chair said there was need to have a more coordinated decision making across sectors. “The Water Act 2016 has given National Water the main mandate of Water Harvesting and Storage. And that is why our name is changing to “National Water Harvesting & Storage Authority. We need support from all stakeholders and especially our parent ministry to implement this.” Said the Chairman.

Hon. Dr. Julius Kones, NWCPC Board Chairman

The Ag. Managing Director, NWHSA Dr. Eng. Ali Hassan said the conference was a great forum to exchange ideas and learn new techniques in dam construction. “The Conference theme “Synergy in Water Resources Infrastructure for Water Security” encourages us to move from a sectoral approach towards a holistic one, which captures interconnections between food, energy, health, trade, and the environment.”
He added that Dams have played a key role in economic development such as power generation where it is estimated that dams provide about 20% of the world’s electric power.
The MD thanked all sponsors, exhibitors and delegates for their participation in the conference.

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