The USAID Western Kenya Water project organised a 3- day inception meeting and co- creation workshop as from 2nd to 4th, November 2022 in order to engage multiple stakeholders in Kisumu County in a bid to increase sustained access to water services, while enabling better management of water resources.
The five year project, funded by USAID to a tune of $24million, is targeting eight lake region counties namely: Kisumu, Kakamega, Kisii, Busia, Bungoma,Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya.
The workshop session held at the Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu, aims at providing an overview of WKWP’s objective and scope work, identifying the priorities in the County water action plan and subsequently developing a joint work plan for the county’s mapped – out priorities and needs.
It is against this backdrop that the county teams are to present their priority activities for the next one year as outlined in their Annual Development Plans indicating gaps in budgets including an overview of other development partners’ investments in the water sector.
The meeting brought on board key stakeholders and partners in the water sector within Kisumu namely: Members of the County Assembly Water Committee, the county department of Environment, Water, Natural Resources and climate Change among other line departments from the county government, LVWDA, KIWASCO, WRA, KWAHO, Living Water Service Centre, SWAP, Sana International, WASUP, Habitat for Humanity, KEWI, Davis and Shirtliffs, Sidian Ban, Cooperative Bank among others.
Speaking while presiding over the officially opening the workshop, the County Secretary, who is also the head of public service, Mr. John Auma, challenged the stakeholders to make the slogan initiated in the year 2000, “Water for all” a reality in order to improve the standards of living of the people.
He noted that water projects once initiated, after 3-5years, they become unsustainable; he therefore advised that the projects prioritized should fit into the sustainable development goals (SDGs)
Mr. Auma called on the water sector actors to map all the water projects and know the service delivery challenges in order to provide solutions that will ensure service delivery to the people.
The CS further clarified that the Executive works closely with MCA by involving them in the CIDP program for them to have a better understanding of the county programs such that when they do the oversight role, they are able to relate to the CIDP.
He commended the water sector for leveraging on synergies so that there is no duplication of work in the county among the Wash actors.
While reading the Governor’s speech, the CS appreciated the Western Kenya Water Project (WKWP) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for collaborating with Kisumu County in the water sector in delivering access to clean water is one of our priority areas.
Besides, the county has collaborated with USAID in many other areas including: Health, Education, WASH, and Agriculture, among others to promote economic prosperity to secure our people’s future.
The County Government is committed to fully support the components embraced by the Western Kenya Water Project including the Urban and Rural water services, Water Resource Management (WRM), the private sector engagement and financing strategies and good governance that will help the sector to grow and satisfy customers.
For the five-year period, we are optimistic that thousands of Kisumu County residents will be able to access clean and safe drinking water and that there will be improved sustained service quality and enhanced Water Resource Management for the benefit of the people.
There is need to increase access and rehabilitate non-functional infrastructure to go beyond Kisumu town, its environment and in other satellite towns.
On rural water services component, the County is striving towards increasing water supply to last-mile households.
The focus will also be on the rehabilitation of water schemes, drilling of boreholes, and completing pending water infrastructure to increase access to clean water to many households in most needy places.
The County Government has pledged to work closely with WRM in coming up with a work plan for the protection of water resources as per WRM’s mandate.
There will be interventions in improving water resources and climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives
On Finance and Private Sector Engagement, the county is embracing public-private partnerships and welcoming investors.
concerning Policy and governance, Professor Nyongó vows to support the enactment of relevant policies and frameworks that would provide enabling environment for water sector interventions.
On his part, the County Assembly chairperson on water committee, Hon. Samuel Otieno Odede, thanked the water sector for incorporating the Water committee in the training session since water is a critical resource.
He committed to team up with the sector in fast tracking the passing of bills on water and in doing the oversight role well in order to ensure efficient water service delivery within the county. Sentiments shared by his vice chairperson Hon Fredrick Odari.
The outgoing CEC Environment, Water, Natural Resources and Climate Change, Mr Salmon Orimba, noted the strides the department made to improve access to water in the rural sector and urban centres.
He attributed the success to the water situation and strategies for improvement 2017/2021 carried out which revealed gaps that were mitigated through partnerships to ensure areas that were not covered eventually accessed clean water. For example, the study revealed that South West Nyakach Ward had 21% coverage while Seme Sub County was the least covered at 2km distance in access to safe and clean water.
The water schemes capacities were reviewed to improve their efficiency and the water schemes designs done correctly. Nyakach Sub County were the greatest beneficiary in this process.
The KIWASH 2 funded by USAID assisted in the rehabilitation of water plant and pipeline extensions at Kolenyo in Seme Sub County. The dilapidated water plants were also upgraded and are currently functional
A strategic plan was developed that brought on board partners in the wash sector. Collaboration with KIWASCO also strengthened towards management of rural water schemes, which had challenges of non-payment of water services and illegal connections.
The USAID WKWP Chief of Party, Mr. Japheth Mbuvi in his remarks said the inception meeting is about making water stakeholders understand the collaboration aspects of WKWP for the next five years.
The co creation he said involved working and agreeing jointly on thematic areas for collaboration.
According to Mr. Mbuvi, the five-year program WKWP will provide basic drinking water water services to 500,000 Kenyans improve service quality to 350,000 Kenyans and improve WRM for the benefit of 300,000Kenyans. WKWP will help mobilize USD $15 Million in new public and private funding for the benefit of the sector.
The scope of the WKWP entails urban water services, water resources management, rural water services, policy, governance, finance, and private sector engagement.
Noting that finances are inadequate to deliver the required services, he challenged the county legislators on the downward trajectory on water fund allocation. He said this would open up high chances for regressing to water borne diseases.
On policy and governance, he said the Council of Governors should work with the Ministry of Water and the inter-governmental coordination in staffing and appointment of board of directors and to ensure professionalism in the management of community water schemes in order to improve water services delivery.
The approach intended for the project is through enabling locally driven solutions that are adaptable and scalable, integrating financial and private sector solutions, promoting inclusion of women and youth and strengthening good governance and accountability in county government and water service providers.
Concerning implementation strategy, there is need to reinforce and build out the framework for good governance and accountability, use of county and basin level co creation, solidify the financial viability, strengthen water resource management by service delivery coordination and advocate for better water resources governance and management.