Kenya

Govt moves to ensure more water for Kenyans

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenya has launched a Sector Wide Approach to Planning (SWAP) process targeting 14 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water and an extra six million who do not have access to hygienic sanitation facilities.

The process will entail the pooling of local resources to support a harmonised national programme of development under government management, as an alternative to projects funded and developed by development partners, an official announced here Wednesday.

Water and irrigation minister Mutua Katuku, who launched the SWAP process, said government had taken the initiative as one way to improve the population's access to clean water, basic sanitation and to ensure sustainable management of water resources.

According to the official, the ministry had formulated a comprehensive water sector reform, which is based on decentralisation of services, separation of institutional roles, separation of water resources management from water supply and sewerage and developing a sustainable financing system.

When successfully implemented, Katuku added that the reform will increase urban and rural water supply, reduce maximum distance to nearest public standpipe to 100 metres, increase urban and rural water-borne sewage collection, treatment and disposal coverage and reduce the unaccounted water used.

The reforms, he added, would assist the ministry attain its Millennium Development Goal of 'reducing by half, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015'.

Katuku appealed to Kenyans to resist acts that degrade the environment through disposal of raw sewerage and industrial effluents into the country's water sources.

Finance minister Amos Kimunya, who was also present at the launch, described the SWAP process as "a worthy cause" that would enable all sectors to achieve maximum benefits.

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