Kenya turns to Saudi investor to make water drinkable in arid Turkana region

Authorities seek to build desalination plant in drought-stricken area sitting on top of a vast reservoir of salty water


Global development is supported by

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Emmanuel Dayan in Lodwar

Authorities in Kenya’s driest region are in talks with a Saudi investor to build a desalination plant, after hopes of finding drinking water from an aquifer were dashed.

Tito Ochieng, the director of water services in Turkana, in the north of the country, said the potential investor – Saudi-owned Almar Water – has already signed a deal to build a $160m (£125m) desalination plant in Mombasa.

According to Ochieng, the plant would be built on top of the Lotikipi aquifer, in the village of Nanam, and is expected to cost 5–10bn Kenyan shilling (£37.5–75m).

Ochieng said the partnership could be sealed “within a few months”. The investor is in the process of validating a business plan that would involve privatising the water and selling it to water companies, while subsidising access to water for the local population.

PAY ATTENTION: Do you have a life-changing story you would like us to publish on this popular website? Share it with us (SUBMIT YOUR STORY)

News of the Saudi interest followed a recent announcement by government officials that water held in an aquifer discovered six years ago was not suitable to drink.

ALSO READ:  Turkana Governor Nanok Dismisses hospitalization reports as FAKE

The Lotikipi aquifer, discovered under the desert if Turkana in 2013, was estimated to hold 200bn cubic metres of water, enough to satisfy the needs of Kenya’s population for the next 70 years.

Turkana herders are driven to Uganda and Ethiopia in search of water and grazing land for their livestock. Photograph: Goran Tomašević/Reuters

Turkana herders are driven to Uganda and Ethiopia in search of water and grazing land for their livestock.

The discovery of drinkable water would have been life-changing. About 80% of people living in Turkana, Kenya’s poorest and least developed county, do not have access to 50 litres vof water a day – the amount guaranteeing “that most basic needs are met”, according to the UN.

Since 2017, repetitive droughts have driven 60,000 nomadic herders to Uganda and Ethiopia in search of water.

ALSO READ:  Turkana Governor Nanok sacks two CECs in latest reshuffle

But a government report from 2015 showed that the water from the aquifer was too saline for human consumption, with mineral levels seven times the accepted limit. This was based on data from one of three wells.

Agatha Njuguna, a hydrogeologist at Kenya’s Water Resources Management Authority, believes the original claims about the potential of the aquifer were too hasty, and lacked the necessary analysis. The water authority is now searching for other aquifers in the region and is expected to publish its findings soon.

However, Alain Gachet, the French engineer who discovered the aquifer, said it was too early to rule out the possibility of finding fresh water in the giant aquifer. Gachet believes that exploratory drilling should continue before moving on.

Daniel Nanok, the MP for Turkana West, agreed that the aquifer might still hold pockets of fresh water, but said he believes the desalination plant is a good option for the short term.

ALSO READ:  North Rift leaders question CS Matiang’i’s order to Disarm National police reservists from the volatile areas

“It is too early to say that the whole aquifer is saline, but the local populations need the water now. Desalination is not a perfect solution but the pastoralists on the ground cannot wait six more years,” Nanok said.

Read the Original Article on The Guardian

Video Of The Day:PLO LUMUMBA:”All The African Minister is A Demigod! Ooh Africa!

-Life is full of opportunities to show someone we love them.One such opportunity is the funeral or memorial service. With the changing times, the traditional newspaper obituaries are slowly being replaced by modern tools of communication. Inloving memoriam provides such a platform where you easily connect with loved ones through modern tools of communication. Tell your loved one’s story, publish it online in minutes, and easily share it with friends and family. SUBMIT OBITUARY
You Can also Get a Stunning Website here

(Visited 150 times, 1 visits today)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here