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President Kenyatta launching a strategic water storage program

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Thursday that his government plans to implement the strategic water storage program that will increase the number of people connected to safe piped water by nine million by 2022.

The Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) cycle 2018 implemented by the ministry of water and sanitation will also increase the proportion of households with access to safe drinking water from 60-80 percent in the next five years, with a special focus on informal settlements and arid areas.

Kenyatta who launched the program said the provision of water to Kenyans was an underlying enabler for the attainment of his administration’s Big Four development agenda.

He said the perennial cycles of serious droughts, floods, drying up of rivers, wells, springs and the lowering of the water table can be attributed to the twin effects of climate change and destruction of forests.

To mitigate this problem, Kenyatta said, Kenyans need to plant and sustain the upwards of 3 billion new trees covering 30,000 square km over the next half decade.

"Protecting our environment will guarantee the continuity of supply of our water sources.

"Failure is, therefore, not an option," Kenyatta said.

Besides the water reservoirs, Kenyatta announced that the Kenya Towns Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Program—supported by the African Development Bank—will soon be launched in 22 urban centers across 28 counties.

He said that under the water strategic program, the construction of three dams have commenced while two others dams are in their final stages of stake-holder engagement.

The president directed relevant ministries to ensure all affected communities where the water reservoirs will be constructed are adequately engaged on matters of safety.

He said regular inspection and surveillance must become a matter of routine.

"The projects must also be executed in a manner that assures tax-payers get value for money in terms of cost and the desired impact," said Kenyatta.

He said that despite significant progress made during his first term in office in up-scaling the number of people accessing reliable and clean water, the demand for the commodity keeps rising due to population pressure.

For universal water access to be achieved, the country requires huge financial resources, according to the president.



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