Find ways to boost water security

Friday, March 24th, 2023 02:00 | By

Every rainy season, Kenya wastes a golden opportunity to move the needle from being a water stressed to a water rich country by failing to harvest rain water, with rivers ending up emptying the precious resource into the ocean.

With proper policy-making and implementation, it is possible to reverse the trend, which, in the long run, will save the country from the adverse effects of prolonged drought.

For instance, more families can be incentivised to harvest rainwater by building or buying tanks. This can be done by giving tax reimbursements on building materials used to build large-scale water storage facilities. Small-scale harvesters can be put under programmes supported by saccos or associations for ease of monitoring.

At the national level, the government can also consider opening a window once a year during which it can zero-rate taxes on plastic water tanks and irrigation pipes to encourage increased uptake. This can address the challenge associated with pricing, which locks out many who are willing but find difficulty buying the equipment due to taxes such as import duty and VAT.

In some countries, investors in new buildings are required to incorporate water harvesting and sometimes recycling technologies and storage capacity to ensure every building is water secure, a move that contributes to overall water security.

One other way in which water security can be achieved is by educating land owners on the importance of building water pans on their land either for farming or domestic use. Lack of knowledge about how to build safe and sustainable water pans remains a hindrance to a large swathe of the population, especially in rural areas, and in regions that experience heavy rainfall for better part of the year.

Finally, there are numerous innovations around water supply, purification and use that, if scaled, have the potential to radically improve availability of safe, reliable water in homes, schools and other installations such as markets, all of which will have a major long-term impact on health and sanitation.

What is needed is commitment on the part of public institutions charged with the responsibility of dealing with the various aspects of water, from sourcing to supply, and increasing their synergy so that they can achieve more together.

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