Lodwar, 28 June 2024 (Public Communication and Media Relations)

In a significant step towards ensuring a safe and reliable water supply, Turkana County has launched a comprehensive water quality analysis initiative in partnership with the USAID NAWIRI program, bolstered by the recent acquisition of state-of-the-art laboratory equipment provided by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The collaborative effort between the county’s Directorate of Water Services and the USAID NAWIRI Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program marks a pivotal moment in the region’s water sector development. The initiative aims to conduct thorough testing and analysis of water sources, storage facilities, distribution networks, and household supplies across 38 pre-identified sites throughout the county.

“We are working closely with the water quality division of USAID NAWIRI to ensure thorough analysis of key physical, chemical, and pathogenic parameters. The findings will guide our future interventions,” said Paul Lotum, the Director of Water Services.

This shift from the previous practice of sending samples to distant laboratories in Kisumu, Eldoret, or Nairobi represents a significant milestone for the county, as it now can analyze water samples locally, thanks to the recent equipment donation.

The Ksh 7 million worth of equipment, provided by UNEP through a program supported by the Government of Israel, has transformed the operations of Turkana’s Water Quality Analysis Laboratory in Lodwar. The donation was based on a prior assessment of the county’s water sector infrastructure, which highlighted the urgent need for a fully functional water quality testing facility.

“Quality testing is a fundamental requirement of the law and a critical process for consumer protection,” emphasized Patrick Losike Lokaimoe, the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Water Services. “We will collaborate closely with the Water Resource Authority and all sector players to ensure rigorous quality monitoring and control.”

The new equipment is capable of supporting a wide range of fundamental water quality tests, ensuring that the newly formed water utilities in Turkana adhere to the stringent standards set by the Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB).

“The equipment is capable of supporting a wide array of fundamental tests and will ensure that the newly formed water utilities adhere to the water testing requirements set by WASREB,” added Director Lotum.

The 30-day water quality analysis exercise brought together sample collection team experts including representatives from the Water Resource Authority, UNEP, public health, Turkana Urban Water Company, and other water sector partners like TUPADO.

James Nachule, the head of the USAID NAWIRI WASH program, emphasized the importance of county-level technical support for the success of this initiative. He acknowledged the presence and guidance from the UNEP and Water Resource Authority teams and promised that USAID NAWIRI would strengthen the county’s water quality analysis capacity in the long term.

“We are working closely with the county to ensure thorough analysis of water quality, and the findings will guide our future interventions to improve access to safe and reliable water for the people of Turkana,” Nachule said.

The water quality analysis exercise is a crucial step in Turkana’s efforts to address both the quantity and safety of the water supply, as the county strives to eliminate the risk of consuming contaminated water and provide its residents with access to clean, potable water.

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13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024