World Water Day is marked annually on 22nd March. It was first observed in 1993 after the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution of 22nd December 1992. It is a day for people to learn more about fresh water related issues as well as advocate for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.
The theme for this year’s World Water Day is Nature for Water. People are encouraged to look at how ‘green’ infrastructure can be used to solve water challenges; from planting new forests, to restoring wetlands.
There are a number of organizations in Kenya that have water as part of their innovations. One of these is SHOFCO or Shining Hope for Communities which describes itself as a grassroots movement with the vision to build urban promise from urban poverty. One of its approaches includes providing safe and clean water through their innovative aerial piping system launched in 2016. According to SHOFCO, “The aerial pipes connect to ten water kiosks throughout Kibera, allowing clean water to flow through pipes in the air – without fear of tampering and contamination. Our water tanks, connected to a network of water kiosks, and our community-managed pit latrines provided clean water and basic sanitation to over 11,000 Kibera residents in 2016. With our aerial piping system, we were able to reach 24,280 people in 2017”.
MobiTech Water Solutions provides Mobi-Water which they describe as “a remote, real-time water level monitoring solution that allows users to monitor water levels in tanks/ reservoirs in any location on their mobile phone and warns them when water levels are low.”
Mobi-Water allows one to monitor water levels in real time, to receive an alarm when water levels in your tank are low, order for water using the Mobi-Water App and also locate water points to reduce the time spent searching for water.
These two innovations show just how important water is.
This year, the government has taken steps to help solve the problem of Kenya’s low water supply. A three month ban was placed on tree harvesting in all government and community forests. Additionally, an inter-agency taskforce was set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to undertake an inquiry on the destruction of water towers and forest.
One of the findings of the taskforce was that top officials in the Kenya Forest Service had allowed illegal activities in forests to go on unchecked which contributed to the diminished forest cover Kenya is currently facing.
It is hoped that the ban on tree harvesting as well as implementation of the recommendations made by the forest task force will help to restore Kenya’s forests, the green infrastructure needed to solve the challenge of low water supple in the country.