Water shortage is a critical problem around the world. About 700 million people in 43 countries suffer from water scarcity, according to UN reports, with sub-Saharan Africa having the largest number of water-stressed countries of any region.
Residents of Kanyathiang in Western Kenya have been languishing in dire safe water scarcity for years. They however have a reason to smile after tap-water connection brings clean and safe drinking water right at their door steps.
“Together with my 7 children, we spend up to one-third of our day fetching dirty and unsafe water from the river” says a visibly delighted Pauline Kagera. The hard work Pauline and her family did every day could not sufficiently satisfy their water needs.
In May, Pauline was connected to tap water, thanks to Kenya Markets Trust and SNV water programme being implemented in Western Kenya. “I cannot aptly express my joy. This has saved me a lot of time and money, as sometimes I could engage a motorbike rider to help fetch sufficient water”, enthuses Pauline.
Pauline’s family, like many others in Kanyadhiang, uses an average of 80 litres of water each day for household consumption alone.
Water connection has enabled Pauline start poultry farming. She now has 90 chicken which will earn her an income of Kshs. 54,000. She has also reared 4 dairy cows which produces milk for home consumption and sells the surplus to her neighbours.
“The connection has brought great change in my life and my family; it has saved us time and prevented many illnesses since the water is treated. You can even tell from the cleanliness in my compound. I am very very grateful. This is indeed a dream come true” poses Pauline, as we complete our interview with her.
Similar sentiments were shared by Roselyne Ocholla, who says she is using the time she used to fetch water to engage in agricultural activities. “This water has assisted me. I no longer go to the river and illnesses are gone. It has saved my time and that of my 5 children who now have enough time to study since I don’t have to walk a long distance to fetch water”.
One of the 10 water kiosks in the area operated by Kanyadhiang Water Project is also extending its services to the residents of Kendu Bay town who are not yet connected. They serve about 20 customers in a day each fetching 15 jerrycans which earns the kiosk operator Kshs. 1500 daily.
Kanyadhiang residents have baptized the water connections “The drops of life” in their habitat.