Northern Water Services Board serves seven counties in the North Eastern part of Kenya. These are: Samburu, Garissa, Laikipia, Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir and Isiolo. Most of these counties are considered to be the driest parts of Kenya. The board must be doing a great job.
The water services board covers over 43 per cent or 244,860 square kilometers of the country’s surface area. These are counties endowed with limited resources. Over 3.7 million people depend on the services provided by the board.
Main Sources of Water
The area under coverage is supplied by three main rivers. That’s Ewaso Nyiro northern river (seasonal), Daua in Mandera County (seasonal) and Tana River (permanent). The rest of the water is sourced from the boreholes, small dams and pans.
The Northern Water Services board aims at increasing water supply by 4% in urban areas and 2% in rural areas every year.
The roles of the board
- Development of water sector infrastructure on behalf of the national government
- Resource mobilization to support the establishment and maintenance of large infrastructure projects.
- People in rural areas accessing clean water – 37%
- urban population accessing clean water – 72%
It’s important to note that only Nyahururu, Isiolo and Nanyuki have sewerage and water system in place. The system for Wajir County is a work-in-progress.
Challenges facing the Northern Water Services Boards
There are numerous challenges facing the board. First, is the high cost of water production in the area under operation. This includes electricity power costs (for pumping water), purchasing water pumps and generators as well as paying employees.
Secondly, there are high poverty levels in the areas served by the board. This becomes worse when combined with frequent droughts. Mostly, women and children spend numerous hours every day walking tens of kilometers to fetch water for domestic use. This leads to several lost opportunities such as school and work time.
Thirdly, the heavy infrastructure equipment require huge capital expenditure. Billions of money is required to construct sewerage and water supply systems. This is a barrier to access to clean and safe drinking water.
Finally, the board is faced with the challenge of serving an extensive land area. This increases the administrative costs for the board and water service providers.
Proposed Water and Sanitation Projects in Garissa County
There are two main proposed projects in Garissa County’s Water and Sanitation sector. These are:
- Masalani project funded by the equalization fund and will cost Ksh. 70 million.
- Garissa Water Supply Extension will be funded by the Government of Kenya at a Cost of Ksh. 200 million.
Water Service Providers (WSPs)
- Mandera Water and Sanitation Company
- Nanyuki Water and Sanitation Company
- Garissa Water and Sanitation Company
- Isiolo Water and Sanitation Company
- Nyahururu Water and Sanitation Company
- Maralal Water and Sanitation Company
- Moyale Water and Sanitation Company
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