Gov’t seeks to tap underground water for irrigation

Written By: Rose Welimo/KNA

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is planning to initiate plans to tap underground water for large scale irrigation which will ensure food security in the country.

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Principal Secretary in the ministry Prof Fred Sigor says country has over 250 billion cubic metres of water which remains underutilized.

The PS says the long term plan is to construct storage facilities that can store rain water for use in agricultural activities during dry seasons.

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“Long term solutions  is to construct storage facilities to make use of the rain water which can amount to over 681 million cubic metres that can help irrigate over 100,000 acres,’’ he said.

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Prof Sigor said currently agriculture through irrigation contributes to only three percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product while countries like Sudan and Egypt are thriving in irrigation.

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He said there is a demand of 1.6 billion cubic metres per year in the country out of which 1.2 billion can be utilized for irrigation.

He spoke during the official launch of African Professional initiative in Water energy environment and Climate Change (APIWEC) three day regional conference that brought together experts from over 12 African countries at Pwani University.

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640 million cubic metres was the target set for utilization Under Vision 2030 but in 2013 he country was able only to utilize only 14 million cubic metres of water and this year the country will be able to have utilized 155 million cubic metres.

Currently Prof Sigor said only five percent of water used for irrigation is underground water especially in the northern Kenya.

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