Water harvesting solutions backed to shield communities from drought

The government is being urged to intensify investment in water harvesting and storage solutions in order to end the cycle of water scarcity when drought strikes.

On September 8, 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the raging drought in various parts of the country as a national disaster.

According to Davis & Shirtliff Technical Director Philip Holi the building proper water solution infrastructure would ensure communities especially in Arid and Semi Arid Land (ASAL) currently facing severe drought would remain resilient in the face of adversity and save the exchequer billions of shillings annually.

“Kenya must invest in both large scale water collection & storage solutions and solutions to access underground water. The arid and semi-arid areas that are prone to drought during the dry season also experience heavy flooding when it rains and if this water could be captured and stored to be made available during the drought seasons, it would go a long way towards alleviating the effects of the drought,” said Holi.

With thousands facing hunger, large water pans and dams are backed to help the communities carry out farming activities through irrigation and become food secure during famine.

“Water is the primary requirement for effective agriculture. In addition to increasing access to water and capturing water from the rains in dams and water pans, Kenya is also blessed with extensive ground water resources,” Holi added.

Kenya is estimated could need at least Ksh. 9.4 billion for drought response plan to cater for food and safety net between July to November this year.

For the same cost, over 150 million boreholes could be implemented to supply in drought prone areas.

“Along with water harvesting, it is critical that access to ground water in arid areas is improved. With an estimated 30% of the world’s fresh water located underground, increasing the number of boreholes and wells that tap into this vast source, will greatly reduce the impacts of droughts on community.”

He urged the individuals, communities, government and other key stakeholders to tap into emerging solar pumping technologies – where it is relatively easy to establish solar powered water supply solutions even in remote areas not served by the electricity grid.

  

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