Being a developing country, Kenya continues to face infrastructural and resource deficits, threatening urban water security and the general health and well-being of residents in urban areas.
In order to curb this issue, Kenya oughts to implement and enforce Urban Water Management (UWM) policies as well as restoring the health of waterways and wetlands in our urban areas. This is according to leading water and energy solutions provider Davis and Shirtliff.
We do not pay much attention to the water we use in our urban centres. Urban water describes all water that exists in the urban environment and this includes natural surface water and groundwater.
Commenting on this, Davis & Shirtliff’s Chief Executive Officer, David Gatende, pointed out that strict implementation of UWM policies and strategies will result in urban centres that are resilient, livable, productive and sustainable.
“UWM plans are key enabling factors in ensuring that cities remain the generators of wealth and employment, incubators of innovation and creativity and provide the best opportunities to improve livelihoods while sustainably maintaining an ecological balance,” Gatende said.
This comes against the backdrop of increased urbanization in different parts of the country that has led to increased pressure on limited resources, a situation that is exacerbated by infrastructure that cannot support the demand.
Mr Gatende attributed the current challenges being faced in the urban water management sector to this phenomenon saying it is estimated that by 2027 the urban population will reach 31.7 million (56%) in Kenya and currently, only one-third of urban residents have access to basic water and sanitation services.
The Davis and Shirtliff boss noted that increased urbanization comes with many challenges but also presents a wealth of opportunities in industrialization, wealth generation, wastewater treatment and recycling.
Mr Gatende noted that Nairobi’s greatest challenge experienced by residents and industrial enterprises is the unavailability and inaccessibility to clean water. This brings about intermittent flooding during the rainy seasons, seasonal cholera breakouts and poor sanitation services.
“A strategy for urban water management, therefore, takes into account the projected population growth for the next century and will not only be beneficial but critical towards the growth and economic development of Nairobi,” Gatende said in light to Nairobi’s water problem.
Implementing UWM policies, the Davis & Shirtliff CEO said, will result in increased availability of high-quality non-potable water which should be used to supplement natural water resources in agricultural, industrial and domestic applications.
Improved water security due to the availability of additional water resources, reduced cases of water-borne illnesses among urban dwellers propagated by poor sanitation and mitigating against floods in urban areas due to proper land planning and improved drainage facilities are the other benefits the country would reap with the implementation of UWM policies.