SPEECH BY H.E JOSPHAT KOLI NANOK, THE GOVERNOR OF TURKANA COUNTY DURING THE NATIONAL WATER SUMMIT HELD ON 9TH – 10TH OCTOBER, 2014 AT ELIYE SPRINGS ON THE SHORES OF LAKE TURKANA, TURKANA COUNTY 

THE CHIEF GUEST, H.E THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF KENYA, HON. MWAI KIBAKI

 CABINET SECRETARY FOR WATER, PROF. JUDDY WAKHUNGU,

 MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORP PRESENT,

 REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR UNESCO,

 SENIOR OFFICERS FROM BOTH THE NATIONAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT,

HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT,

 HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF COUNTY ASSEMBLY,

 EXPERTS IN THE WATER SECTOR,

 THE ORGANIZERS OF THIS SUMMIT,

 

Ladies and Gentlemen…

 I am pleased to host this water summit in Turkana County and at the shores of the largest desert lake in the world. Indeed it was a well thought idea discussing water issues next to the lake which is a great resource to the people of Turkana and the neighbouring county of Marsabit.

I want to welcome you all back home – where archeology has uncovered that man first lived- thus the first home of mankind before they dispersed to populate the earth.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

 In our county our theme for this year is: ”Water for Socio- Economic Development.

Water is not only just a basic need but a fundamental human right that is supposed to be in the right quality, of right quantity and in the right place.

While safe clean water is a fundamental right, here in Turkana County, it has remained elusive even despite the recently discovered huge underground water aquifers. At the moment, its only 40% of a population of about 1.2 Million people who can access water in Turkana.

Since the announcement of the water aquifers by the national government, expectations of the people in this county have gone up. The community and most Kenyans who have been reading in the papers and watching on televisions are not able to reconcile the huge aquifers and the acute shortages of water in Turkana.

I am glad today that we are all here to put our heads together and come up with solutions to water problems experienced not only in this county but across the nation.


Ladies and Gentlemen…

 Access to safe clean water is a flagship project Turkana County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) has identified. The plan targets to increase water access from the current 40% to 74% in the next four years in line with Vision 2030 and the Millennium Development Goals.

You will appreciate that the efforts to almost double this coverage will not be achieved by government alone but by concerted efforts from all partners and investors in the water sector.

Water provision services in this county are provided through Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company (LOWASCO). We want to develop policies so that these services are streamlined and aligned to the CIDP and LOWASCO is restructured and strengthened to meet the demands of water provision.

Our bigger challenges remain – how to treat and reduce the levels of salinity in the available water, provide piping system, set up water kiosks and provide more storage facilities as we wait the harnessing of the aquifers.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

 For most of us here today, we are able to see a direct link between provision of clean water and social development, yet we still find that despite our best intentions and hard work- millions do not have access to clean, safe water.

The bottom line is, we require massive infrastructure investments in order to provide clean water to the people.

Water infrastructure is a very expensive undertaking and I want to thank our partners who have been trying to help with piping and one such is the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

 If the water discovered in this county is harnessed in good time, it will be useful in irrigation and the problems we have been hearing of famine will be history. Our plans are to be able to produce food that can feed over a million people and have surplus for export.

The fishing and livestock industry is another area where water is of economic importance. My government is in the process of reviving the fish processing plant in Kalokol and a number of abattoirs are now operational across the county. The need for water has therefore gone up.

Oil and Gas exploration in Turkana also requires massive quantities of water. To the County Government, development of the Lotikipi aquifer which is estimated to hold 200 Billion cubic meters of water is paramount. This holds the key to development of the oil sector as it enters the production phase. I expect the oil investors particularly Tullow to get water from Lotikipi as we also get 20 percent of the water they extract to give to populations and irrigate farms along the water pipeline corridor. We are willing and ready to provide access to a water pipeline if required.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

 Lake Turkana, as I had earlier on mentioned, is a source of livelihood for people in this County and Marsabit. The main source of water for this lake is river Omo in Ethiopia.  Any upstream developments on river Omo will definitely affect the water levels in turn affecting the lives of those that are dependant on it.

Upstream development on river Omo especially around the delta also means the loss on cultivation, the riverine forests and the wetlands. There are also possibilities of landslides and conflicts on resources. This is therefore something that this summit should evaluate.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

 In more concrete and specific terms, this summit should,

  1. Identify the major issues militating against optimal water infrastructure development and its sustainability, as well as evolve innovative funding to improve this situation.
  2. Redefine the intervention approaches in the water sector through funding sources diversification and highlight the business potential and existing profitability assets.
  3. Facilitate linkages and engagements between investors and innovators towards expansion and scaling up of water services both in the county and the country.
  4.  And critically review the present financing and investment model in the sector to find out which one works best and what opportunities exist for leveraging resources from non-traditional sources in light of growing competing needs for our people.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

Strategies to strengthen water service delivery including environmentally safe measures, technological value additions and access to finance should be evaluated.

It is my hope that at the end of this summit, awareness of the multi-level impact of water sanitation on our economy would have been created. I am certain that the contributions of the experts gathered here today will impact both the discussion and the outcome of this summit.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to our development partners, and other institutions that are playing a pivotal role to ensure that access to clean safe water is indeed realized.

On behalf of the County Government, I want to assure you that we will favourably consider all the practical recommendations, which will emerge from this summit. We are conscious of the importance of this meeting and the contributions it will make in support of our efforts as a county to realize our objectives in the water sector for the benefit of our people.

Once again, I welcome you all and I wish the summit very fruitful deliberations.

 

THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU.

 

 

 

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