The team Consulting for the World Bank, led by Annette Omollo had paid a courtesy call to the County Department of Water Services.
The Omollo-led team had been carrying out monitoring and evaluation of projects implemented through the Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impacts Projects (KDRDIP) in Turkana West.
It is worth noting that the World Bank is the principal financier of KDRDIP programs in Kakuma, Turkana West.
County Executive for Water Services, Faith Aletea acknowledged the purpose of the visit involving assessment of the socio-economic impact of the projects and the determination of the extent to which livelihoods had been transformed in the project areas.
She used the opportunity to point out the twin challenges of water salinity and scarcity as the main hindrances to the full realization of the program objective of enhancing water sufficiency and improving access in the project area.
“In the future, the water projects should include desalination plant alongside other water treatment options for safe clean drinking water,” CECM Aletea told the team.
Citing efforts by the County Water Department and African Inland Church Health Ministries (AICHM) at Nasinyono as a reference point, CECM said the ongoing desalination plant was useful on water infrastructure that had been written off by KDRDIP due to water salinity.
The Water CECM also advised the monitoring team on the need to invest heavily in geophysical investigation and water mapping research to boost borehole yields with desirable water quality and quantity.
On his part, the Water Services Chief Officer, Simon Etom, called on the assessment team to document the need for the separation of water supply works into two critical parts.
“Moving forward, there is an urgent need to adopt a project design in which borehole drilling is awarded as a separate tender from borehole equipping. This will eliminate loss of money and time when the contractor hits a dry or low-yielding well,” he said.
He added that sustainability remained a major concern amid the growing costs associated with operation and maintenance.
Chief Etom advised the involvement of water users and the levy of service charges through an insurance scheme as the best way forward.
Tito Ochieng told the M&E team of the need to sensitize the contractors to unnecessary delays and potential loss of funds, noting that the KDRDIP project had truly delivered boreholes where none had existed before.
The KDRDIP Coordinator Amfry Amoni, lauded the Turkana West Sub-county water team for the constant provision of technical assistance to the numerous water projects implemented under the program.
The Amoni said the contribution of the Department of Water Services had enabled KDRDIP projects to navigate through public participation and community engagement hurdles.
It is expected that the M&E team will do a comprehensive report of their findings and recommendations before sharing with the County Government.
This impact assessment is the second after a similar exercise was conducted between December 2016 and January 2017. A comprehensive report was published in May 2018.
While the 2018 report was an assessment to justify additional funding, the current exercise aims at documenting project impact as the program nears its completion.
The World Bank-funded KDRDIP Project is currently being assessed as it also focuses on socio-economic development and services, environment and natural resource management, and livelihood programs, for which water supply and access are central cross-cutting issues.
The team was accompanied by Dr. Benson Longor (CITC chairman), and Mary Wanyingo.