The World Bank and the European Union have granted Kenya a total of Ksh 8.9 billion for the implementation of water programmes across the country.
Water Sector Trust Fund Chief Executive Officer Ismail Shaiye said the World Bank had allocated Sh6.9 billion to implement a Conditional Liquidity Support Grant (CLSG) Programme with the objective of providing liquidity support to water service providers in the country.
He at the same time clarified that the European Union had granted the Trust Fund Sh2 billion for the implementation of Ending Drought Emergencies: Climate Proofed Infrastructure for Improved Water Supply and Sanitation in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) areas in Kenya.
In a statement, Mr. Shaiye said the World Bank CLSG facility will be managed by the trust fund and the Water Service Regulatory Board (WASREB), who will act as the independent performance monitoring and verification agents.
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He said the water service providers will utilize the grant to support operational and maintenance costs necessary to keep water flowing during the crisis, as well as short-term Covid-19 emergency response interventions that can be executed within three months.
“Emergency interventions may include providing tanker services, hand washing stations, speeding up connections, providing free connections (where feasible), and installing public standpoints,” he said.
Noting that regular handwashing with soap is universally recognized as a frontline measure to slow the spread of coronavirus, Sheiye lamented that Water Service Providers in Kenya often struggle to provide reliable water supply, especially in low-income urban communities.
“The reality therefore is that the majority of Kenyans simply do not have enough water to maintain the enhanced hygiene practices (such as frequent handwashing) needed to prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.
To access the fund, water service providers will be required to be serving areas/counties with confirmed Covid-19 cases, have 30 percent or more of the customer base living in low-income areas and informal settlements as well as commit upfront to the objectives of the CLSG and to prepare and implement a post-Covid-19 financial turnaround plan, he added.
Sheiye clarified that the European Union had awarded his organization a Sh2 billion grant, and not Sh4.5 billion as earlier reported, while noting that the facility would provide financing towards eight ASAL counties, namely Baringo, Kajiado, Kilifi, Kitui, Mandera, Samburu, Taita-Taveta and West Pokot.
He said the financing agreement signed between the European Union and the Government of Kenya requires a National Government Counterpart funding of Sh453 million and County Governments contribution of Sh348 million.
“This programme will seek to aid over 360,000 Kenyans to have better access to water and sanitation services; better conserve their water resources and improve on their livelihood which is in line with the Big Four Agenda on Food Security,” he said.
During the launching of the Bamba-Shirango water project in Ganze constituency on Monday, Mr. Sheiye was quoted as having said the European Union had granted his organization Sh4.5 billion to implement water across the country.
He said that Sh100 million would be used to implement the Bamba-Shirango water project while another Sh45 million would fund a water pipeline project from Kadzandani to Marereni in Magarini constituency of Kilifi County.
On the Bamba-Shirango water project, the Water Sector Trust Fund will contribute about Sh87 million while the County Government of Kilifi will contribute the remaining Sh13 million, he said.
Governor Amason Kingi thanked the European Union and the Water Sector Trust Fund for the grant and assured them that his administration would do its part to ensure that water crisis in the county are resolved.
He said the project would also entail the construction of water kiosks along the Bamba-Shirango pipeline to enable resident to get water without problems.
The County Executive Committee Member for Water, Mr. Karisa Kiringi Mwachitu. Said the county government would also implement major water projects in Magarini and Kaloleni sub counties, which he said had serious water shortages.