Kenya

Kenya grapples with acute water shortage

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - While Kenya participated in the observance of World Water Day on Saturday, Kenyans continue to grapple with acute water shortages in most towns, with barely 647 cubic meters of water per capita for the country against the global benchmark of 1000 cubic meters.
Water resource minister Martha Karua said Kenya's classification, as a water scarce nation, demanded concerted efforts by all Kenyans in the management and development of water resources.

By global standards, Kenya is a water scarce nation and going by this year's slogan of "Kenya is water scarce: Let us all act. We, therefore, need to manage our water resources diligently," the minister said Saturday in Machakos, 60km from Nairobi.

In a speech during the observance of World Water at the Eastern Kenyan town of Machakos, Karua lamented that water scarcity was a setback to national development programmes.

She urged called on all Kenyans to accord the problem the significance that it deserves.

She noted that the celebrations always came at a time when Kenya was expecting long rains, which have also been associated with disasters such as floods, malaria outbreak and water borne diseases in some parts of the country.

"This is due to the fact that our country is vulnerable to climatic changes and the spread of drought has to be tackled to enable people settle in the arid and semi arid areas and participate in economically viable activities," she added.

Karua at the same time announced that the government was placing more emphasis on water conservation and rainwater harvesting as a first step towards maintaining and improving the quality and quantity of freshwater available for future generations.

Government had also embarked on the implementation of the Water Act 2002, which clearly separates water resources management and water supply and sewerage services.

She blamed environmental degradation for the deterioration in water quality and quantity provided by utility companies in the country.

She also pointed out that widespread pollution of waters, conflicts and loss of natural resources were major causes of poverty for large populations, and appealed for proper management in waste disposal.

"For many years, water pollution, water abstraction from both surface and ground water, water use competition and catchments degradation have not been handled in a co-coordinated manner," she noted, and recommended "a multi-sectoral, participatory and consultative approach to allow for the sustainable management and development of our natural resources."

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