The Kisumu county government recognizes the increased threat of extreme weather and how climate change impacts on the county’s economic and social development.
Just like other parts of the country, Kisumu is facing the vagaries of weather, brought about by Climate change.
Flooding has displaced thousands of people. Rivers are breaking their banks and the water levels on Lake Victoria have risen to an all-time high, destroying investments and affecting fishing activities.
To help mitigate this, it has set up a directorate to deal with climate change. Through this directorate, the county government has set out an ambitious plan to transform Kisumu into a climate-resilient, low-carbon society that is sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive. According to the directorate led by Mr. Evans Gichana, emergency climate change requires adequate and immediate action to mitigate the environmental changes in terms of where we live, how we grow food and other services vital to the well-being.
The devastating effects of climate change, from long periods of drought, more frequent floods, duration, and intensity of rains, are being felt in Kisumu with an intensity that underscores the immediate need for concerted efforts. This indicated a tangible sign that the global climate is changing fast because of human activities.
As the county directorate of climate change, supporting residents in raising their climate efforts to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts. This is an important step to empower the County to respond to the challenge of climate change, in line with county and national priorities and plans.
By playing a leading role in sensitization and capacity building on the new investment opportunities that reduce deforestation and forest degradation. The directorate through its stakeholders is set to establish and equip biotechnology centers in all sub-counties in Kisumu, with a model biotechnology center established in Seme as plans are underway to ope rationalize by equipping and staffing the center in the second phase of the project.
The biotechnology center will be used to facilitate acceleration and promotion of the development of renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency as part of the sustainable energy for all initiative and climate mitigation efforts by the county government of Kisumu.
Kisumu is widely considered one of the most vulnerable counties in Kenya in terms of the impacts of climate change. More intense and frequent floods and droughts have often caused immense loss of life and damage to infrastructure, food security and put its renowned biodiversity and natural resources under increasing pressure.
Compared to many other counties, Kisumu is currently much less prepared to respond to the challenges of global warming especially in investments in climate-friendly actions towards increasing resilience to a recurrent climate- environmental threats.
Since the formation of the directorate over the past few years, Kisumu County climate change directorate has been involved in a project to help integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation into county’s policies designed to raise awareness about climate change impacts, build capacity among the county executive and the county assembly to address the impacts of climate change and develop and implement local approaches to identifying and addressing climate change vulnerabilities across the county.
According to the directorate, mainstreaming climate change into the county policy development and reform agenda has not been an easy task given that the program was established during a transition in governance in Kisumu, says County climate change experts. “Implementation had to be able to navigate the changing landscape of governance as a new administration is being developed.”
The achievements of the directorate to date include:
The establishment of an institutional structure to coordinate action on climate change at the county and national level in the form of the Technical Working Group.
Awareness-raising on the importance of incorporating climate change adaptation and mitigation considerations into day-to-day processes of governance and also improving local action to improve resilience to climate change and disasters.
Development of a climate change strategy and policy framework. The project also contributed to the formulation of intended county determined contributions.
The fostering of a group of “champions” for climate change with a greater professional and technical understanding of climate change and its impacts on sectors relevant to Kisumu’s economy.
The mainstreaming of climate change into sectors including urban planning, agriculture, education and natural resources’ development.
Initiating tree planting in-school programs to educate and promote the importance of trees in mitigating carbon emission.
In partnership with the private sector and non-governmental organizations, the climate change directorate has mainstreamed capacity development and training communities and institutions on climate-smart projects and opportunities including flood and drought mitigation strategies.
Meanwhile, the directorate has also stressed the importance of encouraging the community to adopt climate change education to ensure concrete actions for a sustainable future.
The people’s understanding of what climate change is and how to act upon it is central to enacting political regulations financial and technological incentives related to climate change in the region.
By Matilda Atieno
Sub-county ( Picture by David Wadulo)
The County Government of Kisumu in partnership with the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority this afternoon held a Leaders Consultative Forum with the County leadership ahead of the construction of the Koru – Soin dam.
The discussions were geared towards providing a better roadmap for the successful implementation of the Ksh. 25 billion project.
The Koru Soin Dam is a Vision 2030 flagship project expected to serve at least 1.7 million residents of Kisumu and Kericho counties running from the slopes of Got Alila hill in Muhoroni and slopes of Koitatui hill in Soin, Kericho county.
Already, the government has set aside Ksh. 5 billion for the commencement of construction with another 15 billion awaiting National Treasury’s approval in the October 2020 Supplementary budget. At least Ksh. 2 billion will be used towards compensation of project affected persons to acquire the 2500 acres needed for the construction. These include 206 parcels of land from the Kisumu side with Kericho County expected to part with 110 parcels.
The realization of this dam is expected to alleviate the impacts of floods in the lower reaches of river Nyando and provide additional portable water supply of approximately 71,279m3/day. The economic impacts will also be enormous with the project employing at least 1,500 locals as well as availing enough water for irrigation and institutional use that will enhance food security and other infrastructural developments like hydro power generation.
The authority plans to have water gravitate from the hills to the treatment plants downstream into storage tanks at different locations to boost the distribution especially in Muhoroni, Chemelil, Awasi, Ahero, Miwani, Rabuor, and Kibos. Kibos will have a booster tank distributing water to Riat hills and finally Maseno back to Kisumu.
Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili who spoke on behalf of the Governor reiterated the County’s commitment to ensure that the project is fully implemented owing to the benefits that will accrue upon its completion. The project, he said will help bring a permanent solution to the perennial flooding along the Nyando Basin that has continuously led to destruction of lives and property.
He assured the leaders of the County’s total support by ensuring that all stakeholders are brought on board to deliver the project.
He extended a message of appreciation to H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Raila Odinga for their role in spearheading infrastructural developments around the region especially Kisumu.
The Chairman of the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority Erick Okeyo reported that the procurement process is at evaluation stage and conclude in a month’s time upon which they shall hand over the site to the contractor.
On the issue of land acquisition and compensation of project affected persons, the Chairman said that the National Land commission is already in custody of Ksh. 400 million to kick start the process thus allaying fears of many residents. He NLC is expected to carry out fresh valuation in order to ensure the affected persons are compensated in good time.
Joining the DG was the County CEC in charge of Water and Environment Hon. Salmon Orimba who shared with the team the County’s wish list. He requested the authority to consider having additional water storage tanks in more areas such as Nyakach Sub County like Katito, additional booster tank at Mamboleo and Maseno to supply Riat, Kisumu West and Seme sub counties and finally another tank in Kabonyo Kanyagwal to serve both Kabonyo and Kobura wards. This he said will help increase water supply within the county which now stands at 18,000m3/day against a demand of 66,000m3/day
On the irrigation component, the CEC requested the authority to direct the irrigation channel to cover up to Kisumu East in Kolwa East to increase the area under irrigation. The authority had proposed to increase area under irrigation schemes in Ahero and West Kano by 2,500 Ha and power generation by 2.5 MW.
Other leaders present were; Muhoroni MP Hon. Onyango Koyoo, counterparts from (Nyando) Hon Jared Okello and (Seme) Dr. James Nyikal, County Commissioner Madam Susan Waweru, MCAs and other County and National Government officials.
By Nancy Juma
Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili this morning received a delegation from the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority on behalf of the Governor who were in the county to brief the County Leadership on the progress and the roadmap of the implementation of the much-awaited Koru – Soin Multipurpose Dam.
Led by the Authority Chairman Mr. Erick Okeyo, the team comprising of Board Members, the CEO and other high-ranking officials discussed an array of issues related to the project including challenges experienced so far.
The Koru Soin Dam is a Vision 2030 flagship project expected to serve Kisumu and Kericho counties running from the slopes of Got Alila hill in Muhoroni and slopes of Koitatui hill in Soin, Kericho county.
The dam which is estimated at Kshs. 25 billion has components such as gradient irrigation, supply of portable water and generation of hydo power.
Already, the national treasury has allocated Kshs. 5 billion to commence the construction with another 15 billion awaiting National Treasury’s approval in the Supplementary Budget come October, 2020. At least 2 billion shillings will go towards compensation of affected persons with the remaining 18 billion going towards dam and water supply components.
The realization of this Dam expected to be completed in 5 years will ease the people of Kisumu and Kericho greatly especially those along the Nyando Basin who have continuously suffered from the perennial floods. In addition, it is expected to provide additional portable water supply of 71,279m3/day serving more than 1.7 million residents.
The economic impacts of this project will be enormous as the people will also have enough water for irrigation and institutional use that will ensure improved food security and other infrastructural developments such as power.
As he delivered the Governor’s message to the press, the Deputy Governor highlighted that the dam which was conceived even before Kenya’s independence will provide a lasting solution to the perennial flooding that has continued to cause unending suffering to the people of Kisumu. He noted that the effects have been so devastating resulting into massive destruction of crops and livestock amounting to 3 billion shillings in this year alone.
Dr. Owili assured the NWHSA team of the County’s commitment to partner with the Authority to ensure that the project is delivered on time. He also mentioned that the County, through the Department of Water, Irrigation and Environment under the leadership of the Minister Salmon Orimba has actively and continuously engaged the project affected persons within the proposed site in a number of forums regarding the dam construction especially on issues related to the actual area the dam will occupy, the affected population and more importantly compensation of affected persons.
The dam will be constructed on approximately 2,500 acres of land affecting a total of 316 parcels; 110 parcels in Kericho County and 206 parcels in Kisumu County.
The Chairman assured the people of Kisumu that the project will kick off as anticipated once the procurement process is completed by end of July, 2020 with the site handing over to the contractor expected at the beginning August this year.
He pleaded with the political class to avoid politicizing the project but instead support it to enable residents reap from it. He expressed concerns that due to the persistent flooding, Kisumu has been reduced to a “food relief” reliant county, a situation that must be addressed with finality.
The Speaker on his part assured the team that the Assembly will provide them with all the necessary support even as they implement the project.
The delegation also made a donation of water tanks, sanitizers, face masks, soap and umbrellas to support the Covid -19 situation.
Joining the DG for the briefing were County Assembly Speaker Hon. Elisha Oraro, County Ministers of Water, Irrigation and Environment Salmon Orimba, Tourism, Culture and Sports Madam Archie Alai, and County Secretary Godfrey Kigochi among other County Officials.
Mr. Okeyo was accompanied by Board Members Walibengo Waningilo Jane Mwikali and CEO Sharon Obonyo among other officials.
By Collins Owuor