The country’s leading Water and Energy Solutions Company Davis & Shirtliff is calling on all Kenyans to prepare for the short rains that have begun in different parts of the country and focus on water harvesting.
This comes after the Kenya Meteorological Department recently sent out an advisory to Kenyans on the short rains expected in the last leg of the year.
The weatherman cautioned that the short rains may come with flooding for some parts of the country and with it the risk of water borne diseases and mudslides. It is clear that the anticipated rains are here if the last rainy days are anything to go by.
“With the recent advance advisory from the weatherman, Kenyans need to focus on preparing for the short rains. The Meteorological Department predicted that some parts of the country such as North Eastern will be dry in the month of December. The rains therefore offer a great opportunity to harvest water for the dry spell,” Davis & Shitliff’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Gatende said.
Mr Gatende speaking on the importance of water harvesting in this rainy season pointed out that harvested rain water can be used for non-portable purposes such as washing dishes, flushing toilets and irrigation among others.
He added that: “It is however still possible to use the same water for drinking and cooking if it has been effectively treated. Some parts of the country have challenges accessing clean drinking water but the rains present an opportunity to these communities that have access to portable containerized water treatment units.”
The Davis & Shirtliff’s CEO said that history has shown that there is a need for the country to invest in water harvesting infrastructure as exemplified by Australia.
He pointed out that a report by the United Nations Environment Programme details how some countries around the world have reduced their water consumption through rain water harvesting. In Singapore, almost 86 percent of the country’s population lives in high-rise buildings. Collected roof water is kept in separate cisterns on the roofs for non-portable uses.
He expounded that similarly at Changi Airport, the water is used primarily for non-portable functions such as fire-fighting drills and toilet flushing. Such collected and treated water accounts for 28 to 33 percent of the total water used, resulting in savings of approximately S$ 390,000 (Sh28,617,371.05) per annum.
“We lose too much water to surface run-off; with the right measures therefore, Kenyans can reap the benefits of the rains and not dwell on the negative aspects that may accompany the rains. For example, it is important for Kenyans to learn the benefits of water harvesting and borrow a thing or two from countries such as Singapore,” Mr Gatende said.
This will be the second time this year that the country will be receiving above average rainfall which, if the long rains experienced earlier in the year are anything to go by, Kenyans need to be prepared for both positive and negative side effects.
The heavy rains experienced earlier in the year brought with them much suffering with disasters such as the Solai Dam tragedy where tens of people died when a dam burst its banks destroying both lives and property. More lives were lost with flash floods sweeping the country in addition to outbreak of water borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
By the beginning of June this year when we last experienced heavy rains, the United Nations in a report said over 800,000 Kenyans had been affected by the floods with the death toll at the time standing at 186 people. This was compounded by the outbreak of cholera and typhoid in different parts of the country. A report by the UN said that from January of this year to the end of April, 2,943 cholera cases had been reported in 15 counties and 55 deaths recorded.
Mr Gatende however emphasized that water borne diseases even during flooding can be avoided.
“To be cautious, Kenyans can treat drinking water with chlorine tablets or opt for purified water if they suspect their source of water such as a borehole or water tank may be contaminated,” he said.
He pointed out that boiling drinking water will also go a long way to avert any risks of consuming contaminated water. Earlier in the year, an advisory was sent out that Kenyans should exercise caution if they notice that ground or surface water is discolored in any way.