Experts have linked the spate of flooding and crumbling buildings in Nairobi City to inadequate planning for storm water management in the wake of increased private sector development activities. The exponential urbanization has not been matched by infrastructure development especially in the water and sewerage system.
World Agroforestry Centre’s Water Management Programme Coordinator, Maimbo Malesu, said extensive construction of buildings and paved areas in Nairobi had outstripped capacity of existing drainage ways leading to flooding becoming commonplace.
Malesu was speaking on Friday May 6, 2016 at JKUAT during a workshop to chart a roadmap for water research, planning and development in Kenya under the Water Research and Resource Centre (WARREC); a vison 2030 flagship project.
Prof. Joy Obando of Kenyatta University said it was unfortunate that the country, which is water deficit was yet to come up with innovations and systems for water harvesting.
‘It is unfortunate that at 300 cubic meters per person per year, we are unable to tap the raging waters during the time of plenty for use during time of scarcity,’ posed Obando.
A country is considered to be water sufficient if the per capita water availability exceeds 1,000 cubic meters per person per year.
WARREC Director, Prof. Bancy Mati said the Centre had come up with a Strategic Plan to aid the country infuse science and technology in the water sector. Key themes covered by the plan include infrastructure development, capacity building, research and innovation, and enhanced collaboration.
The Director added that up to 35% of Nairobi residents do not have access to clean and safe water, yet non-revenue water losses stood at 40%. With right infrastructure however, she said, the city could harvest 596,485 cubic metres of water which could go a long way in alleviating the existing water stress.
Prof. Mati added that WARREC was working with a number of actors in the water sector including ministries, NGOs, universities and research institutions.
Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) Programme Manager, Eden Mati said a collaboration with WARREC had enabled her organization to reach out and empower urban water practitioners with information and skills.
WARREC, a centre under JKUAT Research, Production and Extension division, was set up with support from Ministry of Water and Irrigation and launched in December 2011. It seeks to facilitate innovations and knowledge to serve various stakeholders in the water value chain such as communities, researchers, water resource managers, policy makers and water users, both locally and internationally.
The workshop participants also gave input on two new degree programmes namely: BSc. Aquatic Technology and BSc. Water Engineering; both of which will be mounted under the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Engineering.