QUENCHING DECADES OF THIRST

Hungai town gets first borehole in 30 years

Residents have been trekking many kilometres in search of water

In Summary

• Residents have been getting their water supply from trucks provided by the county government or shallow wells.

• The county has drilled 25 boreholes in 2019-20.

Wajir water chief officer Ahmed Garad, other county staff and residents of Hungai in Tarbaj subcounty when the borelore was commissioned on Monday
WATER: Wajir water chief officer Ahmed Garad, other county staff and residents of Hungai in Tarbaj subcounty when the borelore was commissioned on Monday
Image: /STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Residents of Hungai town in Wajir county are happy after the first borehole was drilled in the 30 years they have lived there.

Residents have been getting their water supply from trucks provided by the county government or shallow wells in the area. 

Community elder Issack Ahmed said residents have been trekking many kilometres in search of water. Lack of water has led to the death of many animals, making the cycle of poverty worse, he said.

 

“I settled in Hungai in 1993 and in one drought season, I lost all my livestock. Politicians have been giving us false hope during campaigns, but forget us once they are elected,” Ahmed said.

“The previous county government drilled boreholes in four sites but unfortunately they did not produce water. This has forced some people to relocate to other towns that have water." 

Water chief officer Ahmed Omar, who commissioned the borehole, said on Sunday they have drilled 25 boreholes across the county in 2019-20. This brings the number of boreholes in Wajir county to 289.

Sites that have yielded good results include Mashinben, Gunana, Jiraqa, Qajaja One, Areswaji, Qajaja Two and Burdeer.

Omar said the department has been grappling with mushrooming settlements, which have made their work difficult.

Water chief officer Ahmed Omar in his office
WATER: Water chief officer Ahmed Omar in his office
Image: /STEPHEN ASTARIKO

"We are doing everything to ensure that we quench the thirst of our people and that of their livestock by providing clean water. However, our efforts are being curtailed by the mushrooming of settlements, which translates to the need for more resources for water trucking, establishing dams or drilling boreholes," Omar said.

The chief officer further said maintaining the boreholes has been a challenge as communities insist on managing them.

 
 

He appealed to residents to hand over all high-yielding boreholes to the Wajir Water and Sewerage Company for maintenance, noting that the community wants to collect the money but when there is a breakdown they want the county government to fix the problem.

During the launch of the solar-powered machine two weeks ago, Governor Mohamed Abdi said water is not only a basic need but a fundamental human right that is supposed to be provided in the right quality, quantity and place.

He said his administration will continue to provide clean and sufficient water for all settlements within the county.

Edited by A. Ndung'u