The Laikipia County government will soon break ground on a Sh150 million project expected to solve water problems facing residents of seven villages at the Solio Settlement Scheme in Laikipia East.
Governor Ndiritu Muriithi said his administration will later this month advertise for procurement of a contractor who will be tasked with implementing the project.
“We will be able to provide water to the seven villages with the project financed by the Water Sector Trust Fund and the county government, we have already committed Sh23.2 million towards the project,” Mr Muriithi said in an interview. County executive in charge of Water and Natural Resources Njenga Kahiro said ground-breaking will take place in early March, when the tendering process is expected to be completed.
“The objective is to increase access to clean affordable and safe water to residents and for use in primary and secondary schools as well as a health centre.
“The current situation has affected mostly women and children whose education is compromised since they accompany their parents in search for water,” said Mr Kahiro.
More than 20,000 residents who were evicted from Mt Kenya and the Aberdare forest were settled in the area in 2008 after the government bought part of Solio ranch at the border between Nyeri and Laikipia counties. They rely on shallow wells that dry up during the dry season, forcing them to trek for more than 10 kilometres in search of the rare commodity.
However, the water project that will take about 18 months to complete is set to transform their lives.
“Area residents use pit latrines and sometimes open defecation, which increase the risk of contamination of the open shallow wells resulting in water borne diseases. This project will also address these health issues,” said Mr Kahiro, adding that provision of water would also spur development as residents use it for farming activities.