The national government has initiated various water projects increasing the national water coverage from 60 in 2013 to 70 percent in 2022 as the country is grappling with non-revenue water and climate change challenges.
Acting Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eugene Wamalwa said Kenya, which is a water scarce nation, could not account for 50 percent of the water produced.
Wamalwa was speaking when he officially opened the Water Companies Sports Organization Games (WASCO) in Kisumu on Tuesday.
He assured that the government is committed to establishing projects to ensure fulfillment of the right to access to safe and clean water by all citizens as envisaged in Vision 2030.
The CS noted that water is a key factor in realizing the Big 4 agenda including food security, health, housing and manufacturing.
To improve the national water coverage, the government has promised to fast-track the construction of the Soin – Koru Dam in Kisumu County. This important water project will also help reduce the frequent floods in River Nyando as well as double rice production in Ahero.
In addition, two more dams are under construction by the national government including the Thiba dam in Mwea, Kirinyaga County and the Lower Nzoia Project in Busia County that is being done in collaboration with the World Bank.
The WASCO games aim at involving communities through sports to combat water losses through spillage in respect to this years’ tournament theme ‘Reducing the Non-Revenue Water through engaging Community and Sports’.
“It is the community that knows how we lose water, and how we can ensure we reduce those loses through engagements such as these we can be able to learn from each other to find out ways and means of addressing this,” said Wamalwa, who is the Cabinet Secretary for Defence.
Aside from the sporting activities, participants also undergo capacity building and sensitization programmes on proper water harvesting and storage.
“Article 43 of the 2010 Constitution enshrines water as a fundamental right for every Kenyan. As service providers, what you do is important in ensuring enjoyment of that very important right by every citizen,” said the CS.
According to the Water Services Regulatory Board’s report on the performance of Kenya’s Water Services Sector for the year 2019/20, the current national level of non-revenue water averages at 47 percent translating into a loss of Sh2 billion.
Nyeri County is trailblazing in the sector with the lowest score of 15 percent non-revenue water.
Against this backdrop, the national government has put in place policies and strategies to tame water losses and ensure universal water coverage in the country.
Wamalwa hailed the Ministry of Water and Sanitation for the establishment of a specific unit on Non-Revenue Water with plans underway to promote it into a full department to enable it to engage with the Counties and the water companies to tame the losses.