Kenya marks World Water Day


A woman drinks water from a pipe at Napuu aquifer. Photo: Courtesy

As the world commemorates World Water Day, Kenya has not been left behind. The national celebrations are being held at Napuu grounds in Lodwar. This year’s theme is "Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible."


Every year, people and organizations observe World Water Day by taking various actions to address the water crisis.


According to UNICEF, 59 per cent of Kenyans have access to safe drinking water, while 29 per cent have basic sanitation. It adds that access to safe drinking water has increased by 12 per cent since 2000, while access to basic sanitation has decreased by 5 per cent.


9.9 million Kenyans drink directly from contaminated surface water sources, and an estimated five million practice open defecation. Only 25 per cent of people have soap and water for handwashing at home.


Safe drinking water, basic sanitation, and good hygiene practices are critical for children's survival. Global evidence suggests that improved water, sanitation, and hygiene could save the lives of 297,000 children under the age of five each year.


UNICEF notes that given current levels of investment, projected population growth, and climate change, achieving universal access to drinking water and sanitation by 2030 will be challenging.


In 2013, the Lotikipi aquifer estimated to hold 200 billion cubic meters of water, was discovered using satellites. It was estimated to hold enough water that could serve Kenya's population's needs for the next 70 years.


The Ministry of Water has since halted exploration of the aquifer deeming it uneconomical. Napuu aquifer has been serving the population that lives near it.