By Abel Muhatia
The government and part of the private sector have joined hands to spearhead a water Fund project that will boost investment in the country.
This comes after a key observation by the two sectors on the need for sustainable water for development, owing the high rate of water pollution and threats of water scarcity in future due to over usage of water.
Fifteen million US dollar expected to be raised out of this project is set to support long-term investments ranging from irrigation, erosion control measures and agroforestry among others.
Launched last week, Upper Tana- Nairobi water fund, long-term investments in upstream water conservation measures is set to increase.
An investment in the project aims at protecting ecosystem services that will benefit farmers, the environment and businesses.
“The success of this project will see over $250000 US dollars used in repairs and disposal of sludge being saved on an annual basis, concerted efforts by everyone is therefore needed to protect and conserve catchment areas,” said Eng. Phillip Gichuki, the Nairobi water and sewerages company CEO, during the launch of the project.
Operating under the theme, investing in Nairobi’s future, the fund, designed to provide sustainable water supply will be used to protect the water supply of the Tana River Basin by investing in water conservation.
According to The Nature Conservancy, a $10M investment will return $21.5 million in economic benefits over 30 years.
However, climatic conditions are posing as a threat to this project due to the high rate of deforestation in the country.
In regard to this, businessman Manu Chandaria said more effort should be invested in enhancing forest coverage as only one and a half percentage of Kenyan land is covered by forest.
“ A strong government will and action is needed to boost water conservancy, it is necessary and the government must pull up on their efforts,” said Chandaria.
Responding to this, Green Belt Movement director Aisha Karanja said they are working with women groups and coffee farmers to cub deforestation, improve land management and the Tana water shed.
Private investors involved in the project include the Coca-Cola Company that has so far donated the Replenish Africa grant to the water fund to pilot activities.
A global hero in soft drinks manufacturing, Coca-Cola are replenishing more than 2 billion litres of water annually back to communities and nature.
“As a company water is essential part of our product hence our water goal net that we want to achieve by the year 2020” said Bob Okello the local Public Affairs executive of the firm.
Okello said their goal is based on three pillars, which include reducing the amount of water used, recycling it by investing in water treatment systems and replenishing the water.
Currently, key financial supports have funded a two years pilot phase of the project, which is enabling 5000 farmers to adopt conservation measures.
The initial stages of the fund is expected to focus on 3229 square kilometers of the wider upper Tana water shed, which itself covers 17000 square kilometers.