The Government is investing over Sh80 billion in the next three years for rehabilitation and expansion of sewerage infrastructure in the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
He said the investment upon completion in 2022, will increase the national access to sewerage services to about 40 percent.
At the same time, the President directed the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation to pursue incentives aimed at increasing use of recycled water to expand irrigation.
The President said safe wastewater disposal supports food security through use of recycled water for irrigation.
In a speech read for him by Deputy President William Ruto during the official opening of Water and Sanitation Conference, held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi,
President Kenyatta said there was need to reduce water wastage in the country.
He said the Government was also strengthening regulatory institutions such as the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Water Resources Authority (WRA) to further empower them in the enforcement of regulations to avoid pollution of our water resources.
“Industries are required to include pre-treatment facilities in their premises to ensure acceptable standard of waste water is discharged into the sewerage system and to the environment and the rivers,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta urged the Water Services Providers through the Council of Governors (CoG) to upscale waste water management through use of prudent methods, including swift responses to damages on sewer lines and related installations to curb spillage of raw sewerage into water ways.
The Head of State said major pollution also emanates from improper disposal of solid waste, especially in the cities and towns.
“Dumping of domestic and other solid waste on the river banks is not a solution and must be discouraged,” said President Kenyatta.
He said sensitization of water and sanitation consumers at all levels was another intervention equally important to enhance sanitation standards.
President Kenyatta noted that children in primary and secondary schools needed an early introduction to the best practices of water usage so as to avoid tendencies that could lead to wastage and pollution.
“In this regard, I am directing the Ministry of Education to introduce a compulsory curriculum on water and sanitation in all schools,” he said.
The Head of State expressed concern that the rate of increasing access to water and sanitation services has been progressive albeit slow.
He said the current access to clean safe water was 62 percent while average national sewerage coverage stood at 25 percent.
The President noted that the Government envisages 80 percent water coverage and 40 percent sanitation by the year 2022 and universal coverage by 2030.
The Head of State said that access to reasonable standards of sanitation was a basic right for all citizens in the country and the world in general.
“Access to improved sanitation is an ideal yardstick to measure the quality of life. Kenya endeavors to find her rightful place among the community of nations,” said President Kenyatta.
The Head of State noted that the country requires an annual budgetary allocation of Sh 100 billion for the maintenance and rehabilitation of Water and Sanitation infrastructure.
He said this year’s bumper allocation of Sh 66 billion towards the Sector has been achieved through rationalization across the entire Budget.
Present were Cabinet Secretaries Simon Chelugui (Water, Sanitation and Irrigation) and his East African Community and Regional Development counterpart Adan Mohammed.
Others were Senate and National Assembly chairpersons of Committees on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources Paul Githiomo and Kareke Mbiuki and Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu.
Mr Chelugui said his ministry was targeting one million of land under irrigation in the country by the year 2022.
He said the Government’s efforts to reclaim riparian land besides protecting water catchment areas remain key in attaining water for irrigation for the dams being constructed across the country.
Mr Mbiuki and Mr Githiomo regretted that only 30 percent of Kenyans have access to proper sanitation, noting that more efforts must be made to improve the situation.
“We must implement various strategies to ensure Kenyans get access to universal water by the year 2022,” said Mr Mbiuki.