Residents of Kinango sub-county, Kwale County, have for decades grappled with endless droughts and water shortages.
Some live as nomads, moving from place to place in search of water while others walk long distances to fetch it.
But the national government has come to their rescue, investing Sh1.6 billion in a dam project in Makamini, Kinango Constituency, whose groundbreaking was overseen by Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya last Friday.
Kinango receives little rain and is one the driest areas of Kwale. Some 40,000 households are expected to benefit from piped water when the dam is completed.
Inadequate water has made it impossible for residents to farm their land or keep livestock. Hunger is a constant threat and many depend on relief food.
Makamini resident Kasichana Nyanje, 38, uses water from a water pan a few kilometres from her home for her daily house chores.
Ms Njanje runs an eatery in the village and depends on clean water from Kinango town, more than 30km from her home.
She pays a motorcyclist Sh250 for three jerry cans of cooking, cleaning and drinking water for her business. She could not remember the last time it rained in Makamini.
"Life is hard. I get the nearest water from the water pan, which we share with the livestock and all other residents," said the mother of seven.
"The water is usually dirty and smelly, but we use chlorine to purify it before using it in our homes."
Ms Njanje hopes the water problem will end once the dam is completed.
"We have suffered for a long time by having to use dirty water. But I believe that this will help us even plant our own crops."
Bruce Nyaje, another resident, helps transport water from Kingango.
"I make about 10 trips to Kinango every day. This is because many people want clean water and I have to get it for them. I charge Sh250 because it is a long distance," he said.
The Makamini dam, CS Kariuki said, will be completed in the next 18 months and will supply water to residents in Mombasa and Kwale counties.
"There is low coverage of water in Coast of about 45 per cent. This is just one of the projects that we are undertaking to ensure the whole of Coast has adequate water and another 48 per cent of population getting access to it," she said.
Governor Mvurya said the project will help end the water problem in Kwale.
"I would like to appreciate the President for considering our biggest challenge and putting up such a project among many others to develop Kwale, which has for long been marginalised," he said.
Other local leaders, led by Kinango MP Benjamin Tayari acknowledged the importance of the dam, urging the government to also ensure that locals get jobs in the project.
"We believe that after this, Kinango, which is known to be one the driest areas in Kwale, will finally have sufficient water," he said.
"I would also like the government to ensure that the locals here get priority when it comes to jobs in this project."