In this interactive series, we invite our readers to send in questions to select public figures. Answers will be published in the next print and online editions. This week, Principal Secretary State Department of Water Services Prof Fred Sego responds to your questions.
We continue to witness deliberate pollution of important public water sources. A classic example is the direct discharge of raw sewerage into the Nairobi River from a sewer located next to The Michuki Memorial Park and Kipande Road. What is your department doing about such cases?
Benson Mudenyo, Nairobi
An appropriate report of the sewer location has been made to the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company for appropriate action to be taken as soon as possible.
National Environmental Management Authority and Water Resources Management Authority are both mandated to safeguard our environment and ensure prudent conservation as well as management of water resources. They have been notified appropriately.
Some of your chief executives in the water boards are corrupt. What are you doing about this?
Ahmed Jamal, Garissa
The ministry has a policy of non-tolerance to corruption and will not hesitate to take action on any of its officers proven to be corrupt.
Reports can be made to relevant agencies and investigations will commence to substantiate claims of corruption and appropriate action taken.
What is your take on the country’s involvement on the water harvesting as part of commitment to food security?
Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi
More is required to be done to enhance water harvesting, especially at the house-hold level.
The main challenge to this has been that required investment at house-hold level is relatively high for average home owners.
Efforts to increase water harvesting has not been sustainable due to low income, poverty and low sensitisation.
We have a strategy in place to address the food security that involves construction of dams that will harvest water in all parts of the country, for instance, in Galana integrated food security where we plan to construct a dam to irrigate additional 400,000 acres, in Makueni/Kitui we are constructing Thwake dam to irrigate 40,000 acres, in Baringo we are constructing Radat dam to boost Perkerra Irrigation Scheme among others.
Your ministry and the county government of Nairobi have been accused in the proposal to privatise the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC). Can you clarify this?
A. W. Matano, Nairobi
It is not true that the ministry is advancing privatisation of NCWSC or water services in Kenya.
The ministry, at best, encourages learning partnerships between water companies and other better-performing international water utilities.
Public private partnerships are encouraged in the water sector and they are aimed at improving service delivery.
What policy has the ministry put in place to ensure the country achieves sufficient water coverage by the year 2020?
Andrew Ratemo, Malindi
The policy initiatives being implemented include rehabilitation and extension of existing water schemes, construction of new water schemes, drilling of boreholes, construction of medium and large dams to enable 80 per cent coverage by 2020.
When will the government start to tap the vast water resources found underneath in Kapenguria and piped up to areas of northern Kenya for irrigation?
The vast resources of water are not in Kapenguria but in Lodwar.
The Ground Water Mapping Programme is ongoing and once completed will identify a Ground Water Development Plan for implementation by the various national and county governments.
This will be prioritised in the next five years.
Rain water harvesting has been touted as one of the practical solutions to water shortages in parts of the country. What is the government doing to sensitise Kenyans on the need to store rain water especially for domestic use?
Dan Murugu, Nakuru
We are putting in place strategies that will motivate communities to enhance rain water harvesting.
As part of the strategy, the ministry will continue to construct pans and small dams in rural areas to harness water during rainy season and use it during dry seasons.
We will also continue to encourage communities to construct tanks and other water conservation structures to harvest water.
We are also in the process of developing regulations on water harvesting that will ensure house owners in the urban areas incorporate water storage in their building plans to collect water for domestic use.
It is apparent that if we don’t adapt to climate change, our future remains insecure. How can one benefit from professional advice on water-harvesting from your department?
Komen Moris, Eldoret
The ministry has professionals who can adequately advise you on how to undertake water harvesting projects as this will greatly assist us to reduce water stress.
You are requested to visit Lake Victoria North Water Services Board whose headquarters is Kakamega Town and you will be advised accordingly on the water harvesting technology that you can use.
For more questions and answers go to www.nation.co.ke
Next week Brand Kenya CEO Mary Luseka will answer your questions