Residents on the outskirts of Lodwar town decry water shortage

Lodwar town residents scramble for water outside Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company office on September 19, 2022

Lodwar town residents scramble for water outside Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company office on September 19, 2022. This has been the situation because of unreliable water supply in the outskirts of water town.

Photo credit: Sammy Lutta | Nation Media group

What you need to know:

  • They have lived like this for many years despite pledges from their leaders during campaigns to address the crisis.

  • The water holes are not guarded and wild animals also quench their thirst from them.

Residents on the outskirts of Lodwar town in Turkana Central sub-county have decried unreliable water supply from the Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company. 

The affected residents live in a rocky settlement about two kilometres from Lodwar. They scoop unsafe water by digging home in the dry Kawalase riverbed or pay vendors.

They have lived like this for many years despite pledges from their leaders during campaigns to address the crisis.

This is why they want the county government to quickly address the biting water shortage in the area.

"Despite living near Lodwar town, where the county government is located, many of us who cannot afford to buy water daily using motorcycles or cars are desperately relying on scoop holes at the seasonal Kawalase river to get water," Ms Leah Amekwi said.

Risky affair

The holes are not guarded, she said, and wild animals also quench their thirst from them, exposing them to waterborne diseases.

Residents said water shortages have contributed to the high cost of living in an area where few people are able to invest in real estate. 

"When the Kawalase river, which is more than 150 metres wide, bursts its banks, we rely on surface runoff for domestic use and when it fails to rain for months, the water table lowers," Ms Amekwi said. 

Mr Brian Ekiru asked the county government to prioritise large- scale water harvesting to ease shortages during dry seasons. 

Mr Ekiru, a resident of California village, said hundreds of residents are displaced every time it rains, with many livestock washed away by flash floods, but the water flows to Lake Turkana. 

Residents of Kawalase village queue to fetch water on September 19, 2022

Residents of Kawalase village queue to fetch water on September 19, 2022. The water is supplied occasionally using bowsers.

Photo credit: Sammy Lutta | Nation Media Group

County government pledge

Acting Water Services Chief Officer James Lokwale said the devolved unit is committed to addressing the plight of the residents.

"For instance, we have directed a contractor in charge of the Sh9 million Nakwamekwi water supply project to complete it within two months [or] the contract will be cancelled," Mr Lokwale said. 

The project, which the devolved unit is implementing in partnership with development partners, seeks to boost water supply for residents of Nakwamekwi village and its environs. 

Most stressed villages

He listed Canaan, Kambi Mpya, Methewan, Narewa, Lokitela, Nanyang'akipi, Naperebei and Lokapar'parae as water-stressed villages that the county has prioritised to improve supply. 

"The department of Water Services is also in the final stages of implementing the Sh32 million Kawalase water project, in liaison with the Kenya National Highway Authority,” he said. 

“The plan is to pump water from a borehole at Moi Gardens in Lodwar to a masonry tank to serve residents across the river."

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