The World Bank in December approved a $200 million (Ksh18 billion) credit line to help the Kenya government to finance the multipurpose Mwache Dam and increase access to clean water supply, sanitation and income generating activities through sustainable agriculture in Kwale.
The financing will support the Kenya Coastal Region Water Security and Climate Resilience project, which aims to build water security and climate resistance. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (MEWNR), the project is supporting reforms and devolution in the water sector as well as activities in water resources management, irrigation, and water supply and sanitation.
The coastal region, which is home to 3.3 million people, suffers from drought and lack of rainfall during parts of the year and flooding in the rainy season. Poor water quality, rising sea-levels and increasing land degradation also affect local communities, which depend on limited water resources for incomes, agriculture, tourism and electricity.
“The availability of clean water is crucial for millions of Kenyans fighting to raise themselves out of poverty. It is a priority for the country under its Vision 2030 and as it seeks to reach the MDGs,” said Ms Diarietou Gaye, the World Bank Country Director for Kenya. “This project will help to reduce health risks posed by water-borne and sanitation-related diseases, and in turn improve the economy and the environment, all factors that are vital to reducing poverty and achieving shared prosperity.”
The project will also support development in Kwale County, where the future Mwache Dam will be located, through investments in water supply, sanitation, irrigation and sustainable livelihood practices for the largely rural communities in the area. These activities are expected to bring near- and medium-term benefits to Kwale. Water supply and sanitation activities will focus on eliminating open defecation, and helping to achieve universal access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for households, schools and health facilities.
Water supply in coast is insufficient to meet the needs of people and businesses. This is especially true in Mombasa which accounts for half of coastal water demand.
“In addition to supplying nearly 70 million cubic metres of water per year for Mombasa and Kwale, the project will increase resilience against floods and droughts, address food insecurity and constrained growth throughout the coastal region, ultimately benefitting approximately one million people,” said Gustavo Saltiel, the World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.