In a move to combat water scarcity in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), the World Bank, in collaboration with the government, has launched a Ksh19.3 billion water project.

The 5-year initiative aims to recharge and safeguard underground water reservoirs and will benefit five ASAL counties, including Marsabit, Turkana, Garissa, Wajir, and Mandera.

Dr. Samson Oiro, Groundwater Expert at the Water Resources Authority (WRA), emphasized the significance of the project, stating, “The Horn of Africa Groundwater for Resilience Regional Program (HoAGW4RP) will help overcome the growingly acute water challenges in the region.”

Marsabit County Governor Mohamud Ali lauded the project as a potential lifeline for long-term climate adaptation, while Caritas Marsabit Water Engineer Wako Sora stressed the importance of involving marginalized groups in water management, saying, “It is crucial for implementers to include women, youths, and people living with disabilities in arid and semi-arid areas.”

The initiative, part of a larger regional program involving six countries, aims to benefit approximately 1.5 million people in the ASALs, which constitute 89% of the country and hold about 38% of Kenya’s population.

The project aligns with Sustainable Development Goals 6 and 2, focusing on providing access to clean water, sanitation, and achieving zero hunger.

This project, approved in July 2022, is set to conclude in 2028 and represents a significant step towards addressing water scarcity and its far-reaching impacts in the region.