January 17, 2024 (Public Communications & Media Relations)
Turkana Deputy Governor Dr. John Erus today hosted the Water Resource Authority (WRA) officials who were on a courtesy call to his office to share their plans for the improvement of groundwater resources through tapping the potential of aquifers in Turkana and four other neighboring counties.
The courtesy call was also used as an opportunity to brief the County on preparations for the upcoming WRA workshop on the regulation of water resources in Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASALs) in Kenya under the Horn of Africa Ground Water for Resilience Project for which WRA is an implementing partner.
In his address to the team, DG Erus acknowledged the critical role of the state agency in safeguarding the right to clean water for all residents by ensuring that proper regulations are put in place.
Citing that Water provision was the County Government’s priority agenda, DG Erus divulged that the County was open to partnership ventures to the exploitation of Napuu and Lotikipi aquifers which have remained underutilized despite their huge potential of bridging the water access gap in Turkana and the entire nation.
DG Erus informed the WRA team that the County had case studies and research output on the potential of the Napuu aquifer and the fragility of the surrounding ecosystem. He called on the Authority to advise on the best strategies to regulate settlement in Lodwar Municipality without impacting the aquifer as a resource.
DG Erus said that the County had been properly briefed about the Horn of Africa Ground Water for Resilience Project and the potential benefits Turkana was likely to gain. He assured WRA of the County’s support in navigating the community entry requirements and sensitization of the residents and all the stakeholders.
The WRA team lead and coordinator of the North Rift Kenya Basin Area David Mutai welcomed the call for joint intervention in tapping the potential of the two aquifers and said that the state-led agency was keen to ensure that the same is executed within the provisions of laws guiding utilisation of water resources in Kenya.
Mr. Mutai added that WRA had already established a network with the local water resource users associations in Turkana as the starting point in promoting awareness of the need for sustainable use of the scarce resource.
Mr. Mutai acknowledged that the Authority was already conducting independent surveys aimed at identifying more areas with groundwater potential to develop conservation measures that would be applicable across the County.
On her part, the County Executive for Water Services Faith Aletea reiterated the position of the Deputy Governor and affirmed the willingness of the water office to share the case studies and research reports with the WRA team to fast-track the exploitation of the two largely untapped aquifers.
CECM Aletea noted that the residents would be the biggest beneficiaries of the project should it come to fruition as the water volume available for agricultural use and human consumption would increase tremendously.
Phoebe Orina (Principal Community Engagement Officer), Janet Olewe (Manager Legal Services), Samson Rotich (Sub Basin Area Coordinator), Josiah Maina (ICT), and Stella Makeira (Public Relations Officer) constituted the WRA team during the visit.