Water crisis cannot be solved through projects creating more problems to people

By David Mwaura, originally posted on November 12, 2016


The term water usually sends cold shivers down the spines of millions of Kenyans whenever it is mentioned, due to the scarcity nature of this natural resource.

Although water scarcity is considered a global challenge, some people especially those living in developing countries where Kenya falls experience total lack of this vital commodity. This is a condition that has forced people to lead miserable lives; always experiencing health problems.

Approximately 17 million Kenyans lack access to safe drinking water, with the majority of them coming from North, North Eastern, some parts of Rift Valley, Eastern as well as coastal regions. Surprisingly, it has emerged that urban residents also lack access to safe drinking water, Nairobi residents being among the most affected.

People living in informal settlements in Nairobi experience a total water scarcity. This means that they do not have reliable safe water sources. The settlements include Mukuru Kayaba, Kibera, Mathare among others. Proper sanitation in these slums is also a nightmare, adding to the woes of millions of people living in the settlements. People have to brave the harsh conditions that include drinking water from unhygienic sources, eating contaminated foods and sharing rooms with animals like dogs and goats, something that exposes them to serious health hazards.

The people have no one to look up to apart from the governmental, non-governmental organizations and well-wishers. Theirs is a story of broken dreams and lost hopes. They only hope that, one day they will lead a normal life. Their children will go to school just like the other children without spending time in hospitals seeking medications from water related infections and poor sanitation.

These are just a representation of millions of Kenyans who hope that, a long lasting solution we will come together to solve the water scarcity nightmare once and for all. It hurts them when people expected to help them start engaging in unnecessary arguments and politicizing every effort aimed at raising their living standards.

Northern Collector Tunnel Project in Murang’a County is one initiative meant to supply Nairobi residents with water. The tunnel has already opened battle grounds for leaders and politicians. It is very sad that as a nation, we seem to politicize everything, even when our arguments have no grounds.

It is true that Nairobi region is not well served with water and therefore, all efforts to supply the region with water are welcome. The efforts and projects being fronted should meanwhile not be creating more problems to other people. We cannot solve a problem by creating more problems.

The issues being raised by critics of the project are matters of concern and should not be ignored. Experts and professionals from the authorized bodies should come out and advice accordingly. This is the time for politics to take a back seat as professionalism takes control.

As I wind up, my only hope is that Kenyans will be supplied with safe water as this is their right. I also hope that the mechanisms aimed at supplying Kenyans with water will honor the set guidelines and follow the stipulated laws.

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