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Leveraging water for peace  

We joined the world in celebrating World Water Day 2024 at Elgeiyo-Marakwet and Uasin-Gishu counties. This year’s theme was “Leveraging Water for Peace.” The theme aligned with efforts of the sector to increase access to clean and safe water in Kerio Valley and its surrounding areas to foster peace between communities. 

The Cabinet Secretary Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Hon Zacharia Njeru EGH led the water sector institutions in marking the most important day in the sector, whose Chief Guest was Her Excellency the First Lady Rachel Ruto. 

In a speech read on her behalf by CS Njeru, the first lady noted that the theme “Water for Peace” came at the right time when the government is working on fostering peace among communities in Kerio Valley, where conflicts have persisted for long. She added that such conflicts are majorly brought about by land, pasture or water. Hence, provision of water will enable communities to engage in other alternative social-economic activities. Further, she noted that the impacts of climate change continue to pose challenges across the world hence the need to protect and conserve our water sources and the environment. 

On his part, the CS highlighted that Kenya has a total of 22.5 billion cubic metres of water resource per year. It estimates the per capita water availability at 450 cubic metres. This figure is far below the global benchmark of 1000 cubic metres per capita according to the National Water Master Plan. However, the government seeks to increase water coverage by actively carrying out last-mile connectivity to about 200,000 households per year. 

PS Water and Sanitation Julius Korir CBS, noted that Irrigation is a major contributor to achievement of food security for Kenya as well as improving people’s livelihoods and economic welfare. Sentiments that were echoed by the Water Secretary Eng SAO Alima EBS, who said Liter is an area of high agricultural potential hence, provision of water will empower the communities produce more in terms of crops and livestock.  

The Authority’s Chairman Mr. Symon Maina noted the critical role that water plays in fostering peace.  managing water resources in a way that fosters unity, equitable distribution and cooperation among communities will prevent conflicts. Water will improve livelihoods by empowering them economically and the impact will be long term. Further, access to clean and safe water promotes good health and social stability.

“With increased population and effects of climate change, demand for water keeps increasing hence the need to cope with this demand through collaborative efforts in water infrastructure. Water for peace projects have worked well in fostering peace in that the management of these water resources have built trust and cooperation among communities who now co-exist harmoniously.” Ag. Chief Executive Officer Eng. John Muhia

The CS was accompanied by PS Water, Sanitation & Irrigation Julius Korir CBS, Water Secretary Eng SAO Alima EBS, Elgeyo Marakwet Governor H.E. Wesley Rotich, a representative of Uasin-Gishu County, Chairpersons and CEOs of water sector institutions, the patron of SMACHS Foundation (Smart Mechanized Agriculture & Climate Action for Humanity and Sustainability), Charlene Ruto, the Administration among other stakeholders. 

The activities that were used to mark the day included tree planting, installation of water harvesting facilities at Liter Primary School, visit to Mindililwo Special School in Iten, Illula Albino Centre in Uasin-Gishu and Two Rivers Dam.  

The Authority’s team was led by Chairman Symon Maina. These were, Directors Rogers Chepkwony’, Amina Mohamed, Kipseng’eret Koros, Ag. CEO Eng. John Muhia, Ag. GM Infrastructure Development Eng. Julius Mugun, Manager, Resource Mobilization George Nyabicha, Manager Corporate Communication Joyce Rono, Principal Legal Officer Doris Mwangi, Procurement Officer Jacob Kibor, Communication Officer Everlyne Lutta among other staff.  

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