Kenyans celebrate World Water Day as millions still lack access to safe water

Kenyans will in the next few hours join the whole world in marking the World Water Day, 2017 fete. This is an event that is marked on March 22 every year. The first event was marked on March 22, 1993 following recommendation by the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and approval by The United Nations General Assembly.

Since then, several steps have been made in the water sector in order to deal with the global water problem. Different themes have been used in different years with the celebrations generally focusing on the importance of fresh water and also advocating for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.

Despite the fact that some measures have been put to liberate people from the jaws of drought and starvation due to lack of clean water, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done globally to fix this menace. For example, according to UNESCO annual report 2013, over 760 million people globally have no access to clean water.

In Kenya for instance, over 17 million people have no access to safe water. They rely on unsafe water for survival and this exposes them to serious health issues. This has led to several deaths especially in children, with an estimated 3, 100 children succumbing to water related infections every year.

This year’s celebrations come at a time when over 3 million Kenyans are facing starvation and imminent death due to the prolonged dry season. It also comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of livestock and wild animals have lost the battle to starvation.

Access to water has been a nightmare especially in the Northern and North Eastern Kenya, with residents being forced to cope with the painful reality of severe effects of starvation. It is meanwhile shocking that this happens when a lot of water get wasted every day in factories, farms and households in other parts of the country.

This is water that could be treated and supplied to people for domestic and farm use. If this happens, the number of people of people without access to water will now be able to get access to this vital commodity.

The “water and wastewater” theme has therefore come at the right time although some people might argue that it took it too long to do so. Wastewater is untapped resource that could save a lot of people from the jaws of drought and starvation.

Factories especially the processing ones use a lot of water in their daily operations where much of the water go into waste after normal operations. The water joins sewage channels and some of it percolates into the ground.

If properly tapped, this water could be treated and be made useful either in the same factories or elsewhere. This means that factories need to have a water treatment systems to remove waste and harmful materials from the discharge water.

Meanwhile, even as we focus on how to make use of wastewater, we have to think on methods of minimizing waste of water. This vital commodity should be used sparingly to ensure that the available amount is enough for everyone.

This is a culture that should also be observed at home by ensuring that there is no water that goes into waste. Grey water from kitchen sinks, tabs, washing machines and other kitchen appliances should be conserved for use in the farms.

This will help us a lot and there will probably be enough water for everyone in this country where according to JMP report of 2015, available per capita water is estimated to be about 650 cubic meter per year.

This year’s celebrations in Kenya will be held in Mecheo Secondary School in Nyamira County. The event will bring together stakeholders in the water sector, both in national and county governments as well as from the private sectors.