At least 6,800 residents of Magarini sub county in Kilifi County are set to benefit from three water projects initiated by the County Government at a total cost of Sh20 million.
The projects, which Governor Amason Kingi, his deputy Gideon Saburi commissioned Wednesday, have come as a relief to the drought-stricken sub county where residents have been complaining about lack of water for use by humans and livestock.
They include the Masheheni-Mbaoni-Mwangatini water project implemented at a cost of Sh12 million and the Misufini-Baungo and Marikebuni-Bomani water projects that cost Sh4 million each. They will serve a population of 3,500, 1,500 and 1,800 respectively.
Residents said the projects had drastically reduced the distance to water points from about 10 kilometers to less than three kilometers.
The current dry spell in the sub county has, apart from causing a severe water shortage in most areas, resulted in crop failure and domestic animals have started dying for lack of water and pasture.
The residents told reporters that before the projects were commissioned, they were getting it rough struggling to get water yet there was no food at home.
Kilifi County Executive Committee Member of Water, Sanitation and Environment Mwachitu Kiringi said the drought had resulted in the drying of many seasonal rivers and water pans.
Kiringi, who spoke to journalists after the launch of the programmes, said the county government had been forced to do water trucking to cater for both humans and livestock.
Water Chief Officer Fredrick Kaingu said the completion of the projects would ensure a steady water supply, adding that the county government would soon table a supplementary budget to factor in more funds for water projects.
Grace Kadzo Karisa, a village elder of Masheheni, thanked the county government for setting up the water pipeline, noting that residents had been suffering for many years carrying untreated water from River Sabaki.
She said that sometimes they used to have family conflicts with their husbands for delaying bringing water.
She called on the national and county government to send relief food supplies in the area as farmers had not harvested anything due to the drought.
Munga Mzigo from Pokea Mwana area in Magarini said the famine had contributed a lot in high school dropout rates as families have no food to eat.
“We call upon the government to bring relief food, and revive the irrigation projects which have stalled, bring machines for us to pump water as the only ones were destroyed by floods,” he said.