Fighting water scarcity in Bungoma County, Kenya with a community-based approach

solar driven water tanks in Bungoma county, Kenya

Water scarcity is often treated as underrated issue in a world where half of the population is predicted to face unstable access to clean water sources by as early as 2025. While safe water is not only essential for drinking and aspects of basic hygiene, it is also indispensable for sanitation and disease prevention. Therefore, it is the Sustainable Development Goal No. 6 that calls for ensuring availability and management of water and sanitation for all and thereby reducing the number of people suffering from water scarcity in the world.

With 41% of Kenyans relying on unimproved water sources such as shallow wells, water pans, ponds or rivers, there is a great need to develop and expand water services in the country.

In the past months, Making More Health and BI’s environmental sustainability program BE GREEN, together with our local NGO partner Core Health and Wealth International and the social enterprise Helioz has started training on water purification and the usage of a WADI device. This device helps people at the poverty line to clean up water for the daily usage in their homes at schools.

The activities took place in  Bungoma County where 90% of the 1,5 million residents live in rural regions and face an average distance of 1,5 km to water sources. While a two months pilot project with WADI solar disinfection devices showed that there was effectiveness in treating acidic and microbial contaminated water for domestic usage, there is need to massively scale up the quantity of clean water accessible – from 1 liter per person per day to at least 5 liter. So far, more than 3, 013 individuals were reached with 16,000 liters of water treated. In the ongoing 2nd phase of this project 200 additional Wadi device are distributed and further trainings on the usage and water hygiene in general are taking place.

Tanks providing clean water

Scaling up MMH and BE GREEN engagement in Bungoma County while covering the lack of water tanks

With the support of our BE GREEN colleagues who already support the WADI activities we are able to launch in addition the Kibisi Dam Clean Water Initiative. This initiative will solve water tank challenges in the same region and strengthen the local water management committee through trainings and capacity development. Investments in the fabrication and erection of steel stands for the 20.000 liter water tanks as well as the purchase of a solar driven water pumps are planned. Moreover, water distribution will follow through a 5-tap water collection kiosk for the community as well as further distribution pipes to community centers.

Later on, the water volume will be increased and water will not only be distributed to community centers but also to homes and commercial enterprises. For this, more solar pump stations will be installed across the area and smaller water reservoirs will serve as water resources. In the final stage, interested households and businesses will get direct access to water distribution to negotiated rates. Accordingly, the Kibisi Dam Clean Water Initiative follows objectives of providing clean water to households in the Kibisi region in Bungoma county, reducing efforts of water searching by establishing tap water access in households, as well as protecting and facilitating dam construction, and increasing productivity and employment of communities through sustainable water management.

Clean water supply makes more health happen

With self-sustainability towards continuous clean water supply

In doing so, the project proves social and ecological sustainability. While the project will be run as community enterprise with new employment creation, trainings will be held for sustainable water management. Furthermore, dam protection will follow an ecological approach by planting trees and necessary crop cover around the spring sources. As final component of this self-sustaining project, families will only be charged the minimum amount and water metering systems will be established. Therefore, safe and clean water access will be established in the Kibisi region, communities strengthened, and some jobs will be generated to ensure the ongoing success of this project

The 6 months implementation and training project will start on 1st September 2021.

Many thanks to our colleagues from the BE GREEN program for the support of this MMH initiative as well as our local partner Core Health and Wealth who engage in this initiative!

As Ingo Weiss (Head of EHS Program – BE GREEN) stated: “Water is life, and clean water means health for people and animals. Our intention is to provide a sustainable water solution and make it useful for people who otherwise have to walk for miles to fetch clean water.”

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