Water, Environment and Natural Resources
The department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources aims to ensure that access to clean, adequate and affordable water is a basic human right. It also maintains a clean and secure environment by focusing on the conservation of natural resources in Marsabit County. This department is mandated to ensure that the natural resources are protected, managed, exploited and conserved to enable a controlled socio economic development. It also provides a legal frame work in the County which is critical in delivering the right of access to sufficient and safe water, environmental sustainability, supporting livelihoods, transforming the economy, eradicating poverty and wealth creation.
Improved water access
Through this department there has been a significant increase in the accessibility and availability of water in the County where before Devolution only 82 boreholes existed with 24 of them being non-functional causing rural residents to trek for over 10km to access water. In the urban centres, 40-60km pipeline existed with about 1800 connections only.
However from 2013 to 2016 financial years a record number of 30 new boreholes have been drilled with 24 of the previous non-functional boreholes rehabilitated and 15 new water pans constructed. Among the 24 rehabilitated boreholes are Soriadi, Guthas, Bubisa 3, Arge and Ambalo. Moreover six medium level dams have been constructed and 30 existing water pans disilted and expanded to increase their water holding capacity. The dams were constructed depending on the water situation in targeted areas and are evenly distributed.
Furthermore, over 15 underground tanks have been constructed by the department and 1000 plastic tanks purchased and distributed to households for rain water harvesting. In addition to that, 60km of new pipeline has been extended to new zones and connections increased from 1800 to 3000 in urban centers of the County. From these projects residents have reduced the walking distance in search of water by half in rural areas and urban population has benefited from the extra connections.
Benefits from completed water access points
Drilling of more boreholes has also helped reduce conflicts between communities which used to arise due to sharing of water points. An example is the drilled Hawaye borehole which has helped the neighboring counties of Isiolo and Wajir.
In Moyale, Kinisa borehole has activated agricultural activities in the area by providing water for irrigating small gardens thus improving food security. Similarly the distribution of plastic water tanks and underground tanks has increased household access to clean and safe water. As a result of the improved availability and access to clean water, hygiene standards have improved reducing incidences of disease outbreaks. It has also helped reduce drought immigrants who increase pressure on the social infrastructure of urban centers leading to increased poverty and social unrest.
Improving water service delivery
In an aim to ensure a sustainable utilization of the facilities developed, the department is engaging the communities in order to establish a water management committee to increase their capacity on ways of proper utilization and management of water resources. This will provide an improved awareness on how to use the facilities provided and avoid conflict between livestock and people.
The department is also working hard to reduce borehole breakdown response time to ensure that they are repaired within 24 hours to avoid panic and suffering among the residents. Currently over 60% responses time has been achieved on boreholes that have experienced minor technical breakdowns. In addition to that the department is planning to introduce solar powered boreholes in a bid to reduce fuel costs and to conserve the environment. The still water tanks are elevated to provide adequate pressure for water to run for long distances and reach people in far areas with ease.
Although some other parts of the County still require water for domestic and livestock use, the increased water supply in Marsabit County is based on clear understanding of the existing problems, achievable beneficial impacts and factors that determine sustainability.
Environment and natural resource management
On Environment and natural resource management this sector has created and equipped three conservancies that will improve conservation of wildlife and range management. This will be achieved through controlled grazing patterns and employment of rangers to protect wild life from poachers. Besides that, over 10,000 trees have been planted to increase forest covers. This activity involved all stake holders in the County in an attempt to create environmental awareness and provide a sustainable approach that will go a long way in mitigating the effect of climate change in Marsabit County.