The NDMA is supporting efforts to improve access to water in arid and semi-arid counties to strengthen community resilience to drought. This is also part of current Government policy that focuses on long-term solutions that ensure droughts do not become disasters.
Speaking during the commissioning of Kwa Diki Water Pan in Mazola Sublocation in Kinango Subcounty of Kwale, the chairman of the NDMA Board of Directors, Mr Raphael Nzomo, reiterated that the Government is committed to end drought emergencies in Kenya.
The Ending Drought Emergencies (EDE) strategy recognises that poverty and vulnerability are the root causes of drought emergencies. As a specialised institution mandated to coordinate drought management, the NDMA is also the focal point in Government for coordination of the EDE strategy.
Though fast and appropriate action is needed to help those affected when droughts arise, rather than just dealing with its effects, other kinds of investments are required to reduce the underlying risks and to help people become less vulnerable, Mr Nzomo said.
Access to water in ASALs still a challenge
Kwa Diki water pan was constructed at a cost of KShs 10.6 million provided by the European Union and provides water to more than 6,000 people and 20,000 livestock.
The Kwa Diki water pan is fully in line with the EDE approach. By providing water throughout the year, it will be of immediate help during dry seasons and drought years. But over the longer term, it will also prepare people to deal with drought, Mr Nzomo added.
Mr Nzomo noted that access to water in ASALs is still a challenge and underscored the critical role of small earth dams and water pans in making it directly accessible to vulnerable communities alongside other water infrastructure implemented by the Government.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, who graced the commissioning, lauded the collaboration between the NDMA and the County Government in both drought response and resilience building.
I particularly acknowledge the drought mitigation projects that we have undertaken together including buying livestock from farmers during drought, putting up water dams and piping of water from the dams and micro irrigation projects that we have initiated, Governor Mvurya said.
He urged the community to take advantage of the access to water to start kitchen gardens in their homes and plant trees. He also pledged that the County Government would provide water treatment chemicals to prevent water borne diseases.
Mazola is one of the drier sublocations in Kwale County. It has highly erratic and poorly
distributed rainfall. Before establishment of the water pan, residents used to walk for up to
20kms in search of water, thus expending most of the time which would otherwise be
effectively used in socio-economic activities.
The area relied heavily on water trucking by the County Government and other stakeholders
during episodes of severe drought as witnessed in 2016/2017. The project is, therefore, a
welcome intervention for the residents of four villages within Mazola Sublocation that include
Mazumalume, Gangani, Kituu and Malungoni. Mr Nzomo said the NDMA
is supporting establishment of water infrastructure in other ASAL counties.
We invested KShs140 million in the construction of dams and auxiliary structures in various
ASAL counties in the last financial year. In the current financial year, we have already
committed KShs 136 million for waterworks in Lamu, Kajiado, Marsabit, Wajir, Laikipia and
Isiolo counties, he added.
The Chairman thanked the European Union for supporting the project and others in the county.
The Kwa-Diki Water Pan project comprises the following;
- 50,000m3 capacity water pan.
- Livestock trough.
- Solar-powered pump and pumphouse.
- 10,000 litre storage tank.
- Twin community sanitation facilities (2 toilets and 2 bathrooms).
- Training of beneficiaries on hygiene, sanitation, water resource management and project sustainability.