Tuesday, 06 March 2018 11:11

WATER SECTOR PLAYERS HOLD FIRST EVER WATER SUMMIT

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The Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Council of Governors and Water Service Providers Association jointly organized the Kenya Water Summit held from 1st – 2nd, 2018 at Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge. Under the theme, “Protecting and sustaining the gains made under the water sector reforms through devolution”, the forum was aimed at bringing together all Water Sector Actors in Kenya following enactment of the Water Act 2016 under the new Constitution 2010 which fundamentally recognizes water as a shared function between the National and County Governments as contemplated under the Fourth schedule. The Forum brought together top leadership from the Ministry of Water & Sanitation led by the Cabinet Secretary – Hon. Simon Chelugui and Principal Secretary, State Department for Water Services – Prof. Fred Segor, H. E. Hon. Kiraitu Murungi, Chairman of the CoG Sectoral Committee on Water, Forestry and Mining and Governor Meru County, H. E. Dr. Wilbert Khasilwa Ottichilo, Governor Vihiga County, H.E. Hon. Lee Kinyanjui, Governor of Nakuru County, H.E Francis Thuita Kimemia,CBS,EGH, Governor of Nyandarua County, H.E Stanley Kiptis, Governor of Baringo County , H.E Hon Dr. Joyce Laboso , Governor Bomet County ,Eng. Daniel Nganga – Chairman WASPA, Mr. Adam Norakine - Chairman WSTG - Development Partners’ Representative and County Executive Committee Members and Members of the County Assembly.
In his opening remarks, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water & Sanitation, Hon. Simon Chelugui, noted that investment in the sector had increased from Kshs.2 billion in 2003/2004 financial year to the current level of about Kshs.40 billion while water coverage levels had also increased from around 30% to the current level of 60%. It was projected that if the current trend continued then the country would achieve 80% coverage by the year 2020 and universal access by 2030. This will in effect fulfill aspirations of the Vision 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No.6 on universal access to water.
In addition, CS Chelugui, assured participants that the Inter-Governmental Water Sector Coordination Framework will pave way for a clear mechanism to align the envisaged County Water Bills with the Constitution and the new Water Act 2016 which defines clearly the mandate of both National and County Governments.
In conclusion, the CS said that the Ministry was developing key policy documents such as the National Water Policy, National Water Resources Management strategy and the Water Sector Transition Plan which will facilitate identification of critical elements necessary to guide implementation of the water sector reforms in line with Constitution and the Water Act, 2016
Speaking on behalf of Council of Governors, H.E Hon Josphat Nanok the Chairman and H. E. Dr. Wilbert Khasilwa Ottichilo, Governor Vihiga County called for sensitization on the institutional roles and responsibilities of all sector players within the water sector so as to address the prevailing challenges and ensure harmonized relationships thus avoiding unnecessary conflicts. Both recognized the role that the development partners and the Public Benefit Organizations have been playing in working with Counties to develop legislation as well as building technical capacity to ensure the proper management of water resources and service delivery.
In this regard, the Council of Governors in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation developed the Intergovernmental Water Sector Consultation and Cooperation Framework, whose goal is to steer the attainment of a robust and sustainable water sector in Kenya. This will be through the coordination of the attainment of policy goals and standards as well as liaison between the National Government and County Governments through the provision of a platform for dialogue and engagement of critical stakeholders in the sector.
H.E. Hon. Lee Kinyanjui, Governor of Nakuru County noted that good governance was critical for counties are to attract investors and development partners. In his case, Nakuru County has been able to attract partnerships in major water and sanitation projects including the Itare dam project that once completed, will supply Nakuru with 100,000 cubic metres a day, Chemususu Dam that will supply 10,000 cubic metres daily; sanitation projects and expansion of Sewerage works by World Bank, Africa Development Bank, KfW Germany, Kenya Pooled Water Fund, VEI and Water and Sanitation for Urban poor.
Chair of the Caucus for CECs in Charge of Water, Sanitation, Forestry & Mining, Eng. Festus Ngeno spoke on the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal on Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) which is aimed at “Universal and Equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all and adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all”. In addition, he emphasized that while safe clean water and reasonable standards of sanitation are fundamental rights, they have remained elusive in most parts of various counties because of budgetary constraints needed to set up these infrastructure, amongst others.
H. E. Hon. Kiraitu Murungi, Chairman of the CoG Sectoral Committee on Water, Forestry and Mining and Governor of Meru County while closing the Summit, gave assurance that as a Committee they will call for a country wide tree planting campaign especially during the rainy season as a way of supporting the protection water resources. Counties will work closely with the National Government and other partners in building technical capacities of counties and developing policies and frameworks in addressing governance issues in the water sector. In this regards, H.E. Kiraitu emphasized that the Council of Governors fully supports the recent ban on logging on Public and County forests by the Environment and Cabinet Secretary in an effort to restore the water catchments in the Country and calling upon all the County Government to enforce the moratorium.

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