•Statistics from the government show the average usage of water is approximately 40 litres per person per day in rural Kenya and 120 litres in urban areas.
•The average cost of water is Sh1 per litre.
A new report has shown that Africa must invest at least $30 billion (Sh3.9 trillion) each year to achieve water security and sustainable sanitation.
The International High-Level Panel Report on Water Investments in Africa: Pathways for Mobilisation of $30 billion annually by 2030 was launched at the ongoing United Nations Water Conference.
The conference started on March 22-24 and is taking place in New York.
Kenya’s Water CS Alice Wahome is leading the delegation from the country.
“In Kenya, the required investment to achieve 100 per cent coverage of water and sanitation and the increasing area under irrigation by 500,000 acres by 2030 is US$9.3 billion with a financing gap of US$5.5 billion which is equivalent to US$785 million annually,” Wahome told the Star.
She said she supports the proposed recommendations to mobilise financing through the involvement of private investors in water sanitation and irrigation infrastructure development.
Others are reducing bureaucracy in transactions in the water sector, strengthening inter-governmental relations between the county and the national government, use of modern technology to cut operational costs in water, sanitation and irrigation.
Earlier, Wahome held bilateral talks with UN Food and Agriculture Organisation Director General Dr Qu Dongyu.
The CS said the agricultural sector is the backbone of the economy, contributing approximately 33 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product.
“We discussed areas of collaboration to improve the capacity of youth and promote youth-led irrigation and strengthen the capacities of Irrigation Water Users Associations,” Wahome said.
A newly launched National Irrigation Services Strategy shows that scaling up irrigation in Kenya needs Sh389 billion over a period of five years.
The strategy shows that the irrigation potential stands at an estimated 3,354,750 acres.
The budget covers the cost of irrigation infrastructure development, water harvesting and storage structures, sector capacity building, targeted support programmes and information management.
The strategy bases the ability on the available surface water, exploitation of ground service water resources, water harvesting and storage.
“There is an additional potential of 225,000 hectares (562,500 acres) from drainage and flood protection,” the strategy shows.
Of this, only 216,000 hectares (540,000 acres) of irrigation potential (16 per cent) and 32,000 hectares (80,000 acres) of drainage and flood protection potential (14 per cent) have been developed.
Kenya is considered a water-scarce country, with a per capita water availability of less than 600 cubic metres, below the global threshold of 1,000 cubic metres per capita.
Kenya has also been losing 42 per cent of its water through non-revenue water, which is estimated at Sh10.6 billion due to technical and commercial challenges.
Statistics from the government show the average usage of water is approximately 40 litres per person per day in rural Kenya and 120 litres in urban areas.
The average cost of water is Sh1 per litre.
The state is currently undertaking 685 water projects at an estimated cost of Sh600 billion.
For universal access to be assured, an estimated Sh.1.8 trillion is required.
It is estimated that an African woman spends an average of eight hours a day looking for water.
The UN 2023 Water Conference is calling for bold commitments to be made to accelerate the progress of SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation for all.
The UN Water Conference comes at a time when there is growing demand for the commodity, coupled with the impacts of climate change and poor water management.
The report that was launched at the UN Conference shows that every US$1 invested in climate-resilient water and sanitation returns at least US$7.
The UN projects that at least one in four people will suffer recurring water shortages by 2050.
The report says investing in Africa’s water security will realise rights to water, health, education, energy, food security, a healthy environment, gender equality, and many other societal gains for this generation and those to come.
“African governments must tap into these pools of capital to mobilise an additional US$30 billion/year towards water security and sustainable sanitation in Africa," the report says.
"This unprecedented acceleration in both the pace and scale of financing, demands changes to the status quo that is reflective of the current global water and climate emergency.”
The report says African governments can unlock and scale an unprecedented pipeline of investable water by forging closer institutional investor-public partnerships and greater risk sharing between public and private finance.
It says multi-lateral development banks as well as financial and private institutions have a crucial role to play.
The report says by 2050, climate impacts, largely driven by water-related hazards, could cost African nations US$50 billion annually.
It says unpredictable floods and droughts aggravate displacement, migration, and food insecurity; they inflict costly damage to infrastructure and devastate livelihoods and biodiversity.
The report says water pollution significantly degrades available freshwater and groundwater resources, further exacerbating water insecurity.
The report warns that one-third of potential economic growth is forgone in heavily polluted water which threatens human and environmental well-being.