By; Emily Mikwa
Kisumu residents joined the rest of the world in marking the world water day at Kawiti community Water Project grounds in Kisumu West Sub County.
The event observed annually every 22nd of March, highlights the importance of fresh water. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.
It is in the light of this that Kisumu County Government chose to celebrate with the community members the achievement of the Kawiti Community project, drilled by the county department of water. The project has been the oasis of livelihood to about 250 households. It is powered by solar pumping scheme that pumps up to 3,000 liters per hour, equipped with 10,000 litters of elevated tank
This year’s theme “Ground Water – Making the invisible visible” highlights the invisibility of ground water, but its impact is visible everywhere. It is a vital resource that provides almost half of all drinking water worldwide, about 40% of water for irrigated agriculture and about 1/3 of water required for industry. It sustains ecosystems, maintains the baseflow of rivers and prevents land subsidence and seawater.
Groundwater is an important part of climate change adaptation process and is often a solution for people without access to safe water. Life would not be possible without groundwater. Most arid areas of the world depend entirely on groundwater. Groundwater supplies a large proportion of the water we use for drinking, sanitation, food production and industrial processes.
The event which brought partners and stakeholders on board namely: Lake Victoria South Water Works Development, Living Water Center, Ox farm, Kenya Forest Services, Kenya Wildlife Services, Water resources Authority, Davis and shirtliffs, and Japmor was marked with an array of activities such as a procession from Obambo junction to Kawiti Community water project in Kanyawegi sublocation, tree planting, exhibitions and entertainments from children, students, Youth groups, women groups and CHVs all focusing on the theme of the year.
Speaking at the event, the CECM Education, Mr. John Awiti who represented the Governor and his counterpart Mr. Salmon Orimba who were out on official duty in Dakar Senegal, noted the significance role played by partners in ensuring Kisumu becomes a water secure county.
He reiterated that the day marks the awareness creation on importance of ground water as the residents celebrate the strides made towards ensuring sustainable safe water for residents of Kisumu County.
Ground water he said is a vital water supply for humanity where 50% of people globally depend on it for drinking, while 43% for irrigation. In addition, 2.5 B people world wide depend on ground water to satisfy daily water needs.
In Kisumu thee CECM, Mr. Awiti in his speech said 60% of water supplied in rural areas of Kisumu is sourced from ground water.
Affirming that surface over water such as rivers are highly vulnerable, ground water abstraction is considered an adaptation measure against climate change on safe water reliability.
Being cognizant of the importance of ground water in the wake of climate change, stakeholders are called upon to focus on sustainable abstraction and management of safe ground water. Mr. Awiti said collaborative approach is the wake-up call for all to plant trees, and adhere to regulations by authorities on drilling boreholes and construction of shallow wells.
Kisumu county government together with its partners in the wash network take pride in their relentless efforts to ensure Kisumu residents enjoy clean portable water as envisaged in the county government development agenda.
The Chief Officer Water, Environment and natural Resources Madam Maryline Yanza Agwa, thanked all the partners for their unwavering support in provision of clean water to the people of Kisumu.
She challenged the Kawiti Community members to take care of the water project they have, since it is an investment that has incurred the tax payer’s money. She called on them to pay for the water services so that the money received can be used for the maintenance of the project for purposes of sustainability.
The Chief officer also promised to work on the stalled projects in the area namely Soko komanje and Ongalo Nyawar as requested by the area MCA Hon. Erick.
The area MCA, Hon. Erick thanked the partners Davis and shirtliffs, Living Water Services Center and LVSWDA for their support through water projects in the region. He also highlighted some of the achievements of Governor Nyong’o in terms of water provision in the area, calling on more support to ensure increased access of clean water by the people in their homesteads.
Mr. Bernard Ose who represented the Regional Manager Water Resources Authority ( WRA), together with his counterpart Mr. Willis Memo, challenged the people to know the processes involved in drilling boreholes and called on the partners to collaborate with them in making the ground water available.
They challenged the people on the importance of conserving ground water catchment areas and the aquifers. They added that getting a permit is key as well as community participation in the process.
The representative of the Private business sector from Davis and Shirtliffs echoed the sentiments of partnership being important in providing water to the people. Their company pledged through CSR o provide water in any identified needy school or community in the South West Kisumu Ward.
Mr. Daniel from Living Water Center Services, who doubles up as the Chairperson of the Kisumu Wash network said the wash network is a consortium of partners who work on behalf of the two levels of government on matters pertaining to water, sanitation and hygiene.
Acknowledging the importance of ground water in drinking, irrigation among others, he implored on the people to protect the ground water resources by doing exploration in the accepted standards. He said efforts should be directed towards conservation, protecting the aquifers and doing quality water tests.
The Kisumu West Sub County Administrator, Mr. Maurice Oricho on his part highlighted on the devolved government structure up to the village level calling on the residents to channel their development needs as per the laid down structures. He called on them to work closely with the offices in the sub county to know the developments county government is doing.