A recent World Bank consultation on water management in Kenya has triggered a necessary debate on the way we manage water resources. In the consultation, the World Bank called for new protection taxes and increased supervision fees on water supply companies. The proposed protection tax will be used to protect water resources. However, this means that water bills will increase, which makes the Kenyan population that continues to suffer from water shortages and inequality bitter. In this context, we need to decisively solve the two problems of water shortage and inequality.
Water scarcity means that the demand for water exceeds the supply. By 2030, Africa’s demand for water is expected to quadruple. Therefore, water shortages may increase sharply, thereby exacerbating water inequality. Twenty years ago, the average water consumption in Africa was 47 liters per person per day, the lowest in the world.
This is a far cry from the average water consumption of 578 liters per person per day in the United States. Twenty years have passed, and the situation has hardly changed. This can be clearly seen in rural and urban households across Kenya. This is why we must re-examine the quantity and quality of water flowing into Kenyan households.
The journey of water from the forest catchment to our tap is becoming more and more dangerous. President Uhuru Kenyatta recently talked about the need to protect this water journey. He ordered NEMA to clean up the upstream river flowing into the Thwake Dam he was examining. Among these upstream rivers is the Nairobi River, which is heavily polluted. If the conservation tax means repairing these rivers and strengthening the protection of our water towers, then it would make sense. If paying a little more will cause Kenyans to demand value for money, then this will be a plus for the country, as water service providers will have to significantly enhance their game.
We must change this situation by converting wastewater into healthy water that can feed our farms. This can only be achieved by building a parallel water infrastructure that pumps recycled wastewater into farms across Kenya. Wastewater treatment and subsequent distribution to farms will greatly help solve the water shortage problem in Kenya. Due to water scarcity, Africa has lost billions of dollars every year. Due to lack of water, 5% of the African continent’s GDP is lost. According to the African Development Bank, Africa needs to invest nearly 7 trillion shillings in the water sector if it is to realize the 2025 Africa Water Vision. Fortunately, Kenya has invested billions of dollars in dam construction. Some of the dams currently under construction include Thwake Dam in Makueni County, Makamini Dam and Mwache Multipurpose Dam in Kwale County, and Bakuli 4 Dam in Marsabit County.
When we build these dams, we must fundamentally improve the management of the water that has flowed through our natural and building infrastructure. This kind of comprehensive water management needs to protect our forests as catchment areas, purify the rivers that provide water for dams, sustainably mine groundwater, and efficiently distribute water to households in every corner of the country. In fact, our efficient water management is equivalent to improving the quality of life. We cannot wait for the World Bank to issue an advisory opinion on the obvious. Let relevant institutions think green, act green and act instead of empty talk!
with information from: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/opinion/article/2001418555/you-must-be-willing-to-pay-for-quality-water-and-its-sources