The budget that the national government allocates to the Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation Ministry is too little.
While appearing before the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Water Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome said that the budget allocation is too little to carry out the ministry’s projects.
“Our budget, what we get from the government is sh.22bn, we supplement that with sh.66bn from partners. Meanwhile, building a single dam costs around sh.20bn, and per county, we need three to four dams to get bulk water, so you see the funds we get are not enough,” said CS Wahome.
The Irrigation CS said the ministry was planning on building 100 dams across the country to tackle the problem of water shortage.
CS Wahome asked the senators to help in finding a way to increase the budget allocation to the ministry.
“I’ve told them we will investigate to find out why the cost of building dams keeps going up to impossible amounts, in another two to three months we will review how to lower the cost,” said the Water and Irrigation CS.
She however urged Kenyans to also make individual efforts to harvest and store water as a means of ensuring water security in their homes.
Need to increase irrigation projects
To increase food production in the country, CS Wahome said the ministry plans on increasing irrigation projects in the country.
“We currently have 664k acres of land being irrigated and we want to increase that to three million acres because if we keep relying on the rain we will remain as we are,” said CS Wahome.
“We need like 10 million kilograms of maize as stored security package to achieve food security. For that to happen, we need to increase our irrigation, increase the amount of water we are supplying to farmers including through interventions like boreholes and small household pans,” she added.
The CS mentioned to the Committee that high land rates have also been a challenge in carrying out some of the projects.