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More than 1400 children die every day worldwide from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Globally, diarrhea is the second biggest killer of children under five. Only malaria kills more.

Meanwhile, Kenya is in the grip of a cholera epidemic. In six months, there have been over 80 deaths. Again, unclean water is a key driver.

At a meeting of County representatives in Nairobi on June 30th, Kenya Markets Trust Chief Executive Paul Wanyagah urged action, stating that Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) present the fastest and most efficient way to get investment into the system.

“Kenya is a water-scarce country and if left unchecked, this situation will deteriorate,” said Mr Wanyagah.

Kenya’s water availability stands at 647 cubic meters (m2) per capita, against UN-advised minimum of 1000m2 per capita. This compares unfavourably to Uganda’s 2940m2 and Tanzania’s 2696m2 per capita.  Wanyagah used the meeting to ask all the county officials in charge of water and natural resource planning to exploit opportunities presented by PPP for sustainable water development in their counties.

Below: KMT CEO Mr. Paul Wanyagah at the water workshop

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Benjamin Cheboi, Governor of Baringo County and chairperson for the Council of Governors’ committee on Natural Resources, emphasised the importance of water in human lives. “Along with air, without which man cannot survive for more than a few minutes, water is one of our most essential natural resources,” he said.

 

Delegates at the meeting included County Executive Committee Members, Chief Officers of Water departments, Members of County Assemblies, the National Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the National Treasury. Also present were development partners who were keen for Counties to seize the opportunities presented by the new Constitution, which stipulates that water and sanitation services are the function of County Governments.

Challenges in the water sector in most of the Counties include inefficient policy and regulations, limited public investment, and climate change.

The KMT and SNV inspired workshop heard that huge investments, better operational efficiencies, and innovative technology can all be availed to the water sector are achievable if partnerships with private investors can be formed.

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