Makueni County is classified as an arid and semiarid land characterized by low and poorly distributed rainfall that ranges between 100-600mm per year. Due to the harsh climatic conditions, water is scarce and residents walk for long distances in search of water for both domestic and animal use.
Water is one of the most pressing needs in the county. It is against this backdrop that the county government has embarked on an ambitious project of harvesting water across the county as a way of cushioning the residents against the biting water scarcity.
Dubbed ‘Kitwiikanya Kiwu’ (harvesting water) the project aims at supporting residents to establish water pans at every household for both domestic and small scale irrigation. Director Agriculture David Musyoki told Kenya Monitor that the department targets to have 600 pans by the end of the year.
“We plan to have the pans at high potential areas like Mbooni, Kilungu before we roll out the entire project in the whole county,” he said.
To support the initiative, the Department of Sports will hold the first annual half-marathon to encourage residents to harvest water during the rainy seasons.
Gender and Sports Executive Rose Maundu said the marathon to be held at the Makueni Boys School will kick off on Saturday June 27 starting from 6am.
The half marathon according to Ms. Maundu will have several categories that include a fun run, a walk and 5km, 10km and 21 km run.
She also disclosed that the marathon will be an annual event.
Registration is currently going on at Sh500 for individual and Sh10, 000 for corporates.
According to the information posted on the county website, the water Department is one of the key departments in the county whose activities will make or break the meaning of devolution to the ordinary citizenry.
The County Government has identified provision of sufficient clean drinking water and water for irrigation and livestock use as one of the key development agenda as captured in the County Integrated Development Plan 2013-2018.
The government plans to establish 100 earth dams by 2017 by rolling out six 30-acre earth dams, one in each constituency and at least three other smaller dams of at least 50,000 metric tones in each of the 30 wards.
Already, some of the mega earth dams such D4 in Kilome Sub County have been completed while construction of Kwambila dam within Makueni is ongoing
Besides the earth dams, the county is also setting up sand dams with Kaiti sand dam having being operationalized to provide water to the residents of Wote town.