The Deputy Governor Dr John Erus has told experts in the water sector to adopt evidence-based models to achieve results in the conservation of water aquifers in Turkana.
He spoke today at a meeting supported by UNESCO dubbed the “Turkwell Project” with a focus on Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) for sustainability.
With the challenge of climate change and human activities as the major threats to managed aquifer recharge, Dr. Erus emphasized the role of evidence and data-driven models in developing sustainable solutions to the threats faced by Napuu aquifer in Turkana Central and Lotikipi aquifer in Turkana West.
The DG called on UNESCO to make use of its networks, huge funding potential, and expert human resources in the County to unlock the potential of the major aquifers in Turkana for economic empowerment of the local population, and economic transformation of the Turkana, Kenya, and the East Africa region.
Dr Erus said the County was in the process of developing a 10-year spatial plan that would allow massive investments in the water sector, and protect the aquifer recharge locations from destructive human encroachment.
He also cited the Water Project at Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH) which uses water conservation approaches of reuse and recycling to enable water extraction, desalination, and fish farming as the commitment of the County Government towards water conservation.
County Executive for Water Services Faith Aletea said Turkana stood to gain immensely from a properly managed aquifer recharge project as willing to partner with UNESCO and other development agencies on the project.
She explained that a joint effort by the County, UNESCO, and Development Partners on Managed Aquifer Recharge would specifically address the challenge of human-induced poor water quality and collapsing water infrastructure.
CECM Aletea re-echoed the position of DG Erus on the critical nature of informed approaches in tailoring solutions.
And noted the Turkwell Basin had not fully benefited from such approaches as the existing studies and mapping efforts were scattered and largely devoid of sufficient data for decision-making.
Additionally, CECM informed Water is a priority of the Governor’s transformative agenda and hence welcomes the partnership with UNESCO on the Managed Aquifer Recharge project and the use of evidence-informed approaches for the development of sustainable solutions.
Ag. Director and representative of UNESCO East Africa regional office Alexandros Makarigakis said the “Turkwell Project” on Managed Aquifer Recharge was part of the UN Cooperation Framework in support of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) in Kenya and Turkana in particular.
Makarigakis added that informed approaches based on evidence have been fully integrated into UNESCO’s routine undertakings and said the same would be applied in the “Turkwell project”.
Today’s inception meeting comes at a time when the County has expressed concerns over human encroachment of Napuu aquifer recharge sites and the adoption of sanitation methods that pose a serious threat to the quality of water in the aquifer.
Besides, the Water Department has taken the lead in forming a Coordination Forum through which interventions in the water sector will be streamlined to avoid duplication of activities and waste of resources.
The meeting was attended by representatives of Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM), National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), State Department of ASAL and Regional Development, Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Water Resource Authority (WRA), UNOPs and County Government of West Pokot.