Nairobi — The Nairobi Water Fund, an initiative by the Nature Conservancy, seeks to restore and protect parts of the Upper Tana basin through direct efforts in engaging communities in water conservation activities.
The project is aimed at improving water use efficiency by 25 percent by 2020 through awareness on conservation activities such as agro-forestry, land and water usage management.
The Nature Conservancy Country Director Munir Bashir says the proposed project targets to train over 10,000 women to enable improvement in better catchment management.
"The farmers know or maybe some of them do not know that they are living in a very important catchment area for water in this country. Communities in this area need to know that investments are going into this catchment area for them to be able to practice good agriculture. This is something we need to teach them on a daily basis," she said.
The Upper Tana basin which is the country's main water supply system produces 90 percent of Nairobi's drinking water as well as supplies water to dams to generate most of the country's electricity.
President, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation Susan Mboya Kidero says the inability to access clean water, sanitation and hygiene is a great obstacle to poverty alleviation and economic growth.
Speaking during the handover ceremony of the donation made by the Coca-Cola Company she says the lack of water and sanitation causes a downward pull on Gross Domestic Product of between 2 to 7 percent annually.
"Through this fund, we hope to catalyze tangible improvements in the quality and quantity of water available to downstream communities from a river basin that is indispensable for Kenya's domestic and industrial water needs," she said.
"On average, in-rural areas women spend a lot of their time fetching water which often means lots of time spent walking up to five miles or more to the nearest water sources and then carry back heavy pails of water to enable them to run their family. Therefore increased access to water can lay the foundation for economic growth and empowerment."
Bashir says the interest generated from this donation will be a sustainable source of funding for future watershed conservation activities to ensure Kenya's water resources are preserved.
The Sh13 million donation will be used to develop a governance structure for the Nairobi Water Fund which targets to raise Sh1.3 billion by 2018.