State turns to ocean wa­ter to fight drought

‘Desert coun­tries have used de­sali­na­tion to get sup­ply for farm­ing, con­sump­tion’

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Coast - ALPHONCE GARI @alphonce2011

The na­tional gov­ern­ment will in­vest in wa­ter de­sali­na­tion projects along the coast­line and dams to fight drought, Spe­cial Pro­grammes PS Josepheta Mukobe has said.

“We need a place to store [the de­sali­nated] wa­ter, such as wa­ter pans and dams so we can come up with ir­ri­ga­tion schemes to pro­duce food,” she said. Mukobe spoke on Fri­day dur­ing a drought as­sess­ment tour in Kil­ifi county.

Some 1.3 mil­lion peo­ple face star­va­tion in the Coast and North­east­ern re­gions. The Na­tional Drought Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity last week an­nounced that the on­go­ing drought could last un­til Septem­ber next year.

The gov­ern­ment is giv­ing out re­lief food in the af­fected ar­eas as a short term mea­sure but the plan is to have a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion.

Re­search has shown that through de­sali­na­tion, the Coast can pro­duce enough wa­ter for con­sump­tion, ir­ri­ga­tion and stor­age. For cen­turies des- ert coun­tries such as Egypt have used de­sali­na­tion to get enough wa­ter for farm­ing and hu­man con­sump­tion, Mukobe said.

She said the gov­ern­ment is pur­chas­ing live­stock. Mukobe de­nied claims of lack of co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the gov­ern­ment and other agen­cies in dis­tribut­ing re­lief food. She said a food dis­tri­bu­tion com­mit­tee is in charge and it has rep­re­sen­ta­tion from all stake­hold­ers.

/ JOHN CHESOLI

Dock Work­ers Union chair­man Si­mon Sang and Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto dur­ing a meet­ing with DWU mem­bers at KPA Sports Club, Mbaraki, Mom­basa, yes­ter­day

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