County announces measures to mitigate water scarcity

The Kisii County Government has announced a raft of measures to mitigate water scarcity occasioned by the ongoing dry weather spell.

CEC for Water, Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Dr. Moiro Omari has announced that the Gusii Water and Sanitation Company (GWASCO) will start rationing water in Kisii Town and other urban areas.

Worst hit are schools, hospitals, tea factories, hotels and rural households. Conflicts have been reported among residents scrambling for water.

Addressing the media after a review meeting on the ongoing drought situation in the county, Dr. Moiro said reduced water volumes at Kegati and Nyakomisaro intakes necessitated the rationing.

“Over the past one year, we have not received adequate rainfall and this has extended into the New Year with temperatures of 29.4 degrees, the highest in the past 30 years. Water springs are drying up affecting discharge in our main rivers. We are forced to ration available water to benefit all,” said Dr. Moiro.

Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) sub regional head Joseph Wendot, GWASCO Managing Director Eng. John Moguche, County Director for Weather Services Henry Sese and Chief Officer Zablon Ongori were present during the briefing.

“The situation is worse now because we are receiving only 10 percent of the water we used to receive four months ago. The demand in Kisii stands at 25million litres of water per day yet the current production capacity is hardly 5 million litres per day. This is why we have to ration,” said Eng. Moguche.

Discharge at River Gucha, which is the main water source for GWASCO, has fallen from five cubic metres of water per second in April 2016 to three cubic metres of water per second currently. Other Rivers affected include Mogusii, Nyakomisaro and Nyanchwa.

He said GWASCO was in talks with Lake Victoria South Water Services Board to avail a water bowser to enable the firm supply the commodity to schools and other public institutions – as part of the drought mitigation measures.

GWASCO has licensed four private providers of water bowsers who could distribute water where need arises.

The County Government now calls on residents to boil water for domestic use, reduce irrigation activities, reduce the use of spring water for car wash business, remove blue gum tree from water catchments among other measures.

“We shall speed up the operationalization of boreholes drilled by the County and repair hand pumps in operational boreholes across the county to ease the suffering of our people,” said Dr. Moiro. He warned locals against vandalizing water supply infrastructure.

Water experts in the county reported that Nyanchwa, Nyangusu, Getubo and Riamonyao water springs in Kisii Central, Nyakoe and Bogusero wards had dried up. Riasibo River in Gesusu ward has also dried up.

“I urge resident to observe laws on riparian land and water catchments if we are to survive now and in the future. We have to adopt other sources of water like rain water harvesting to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Mr. Ongori, the Chief Officer.

He called on residents to be tolerant with each other when sourcing this scarce commodity noting that some selfish people were denying people from fetching water in some areas. He asked chiefs and their assistants to provide security to residents fetching water at night during this dry season.