Tana scales up water supply amid biting drought

Dead Carcasses in theĀ  Wayu Village fields, Tana River County.

Photo credit: Stephen Oduor I Nation Media Group

Tana River County officials have scaled up water deliveries by truck to areas of the county hit hard by the drought amid rising livestock deaths.

This follows complaints by residents in Wayu, Assa and Bangale that they were not getting water as scheduled.

They say county trucks were delivering water to herdsmen midway, leaving villagers at the mercy of private suppliers, who sell water for Sh12,000 per 10,000-litre truck.

To cushion residents from the exorbitant charges, the administration has partnered with humanitarian organisations to provide more trucks to expand the water supply to affected villages and herdsmen.

In an interview with Nation.Africa, Tana River Water Services Managing Director William Jillo said the administration had increased supply to areas affected from a trip of 10,000 litres a week to two trips of the same amount every three days.

"We realised that the supply was inadequate, and we needed to increase the coverage to meet the needs of the affected population," he said.

Mr Jillo noted that the administration and partners had committed 10 water trucks to supply water to various parts of the county.

Assa, Wayu and Bangale have been prioritised as they have been the worst-hit.

Of 29 water pans in the region, the three areas boast only one, which is now toxic because of the dry spell and its water is unfit for human consumption.

"Bangale faces the most difficult situation at the moment, followed by Assa, where more than 5,000 households need water frequently lest we start losing people," he said.

But Mr Jillo noted that the water supply is a temporary solution as the administration works on lasting solutions for the respective areas.

In Assa, where residents have been digging deep wells to find water, county officials have hinted at plans to dig wells and establish a sustainable water supply system.

"We must note that there are more animals than humans in the affected areas, and no amount of water trucking can sustain the gap," he said.

He urged residents to exercise patience as officials work to connect them to a lasting water system.

More than 11,000 households in Tana River County are experiencing a shortage of water, with more than 3,000 animals reported to have died as a result of the drought.