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December 3, 2023
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How water projects are changing lives in Tigania

Solar powered borehole

At a dusty village in Meru county, a group of women gather around a solar-powered bore hole. It is yet to be completed, but the glit- –
tering faces tell you they are very optimistic, even
before Governor Kiraitu Murungi arrives to commission the borehole.
The semi-arid Ngaremara village in Tigania East
constituency is prone to banditry. The Meru government aims to drill 100 boreholes each year for
five years.
The Turkana community are the majority among residents. To access the area, one has to pass Isiolo town
from Meru and, due to the isolation, most residents
vote in Isiolo, although they are in Meru county.
“During election time I did not campaign here. I
thought Ngaremara was in Isiolo county, but I later
realised it was in Meru and decided to do development goodies,” Kiraitu said when he commissioned
the borehole.
Residents could not believe as water flowed from a
solar-powered borehole. They cheered and came to
quench their thirst. The livestock were not left out.
Women even cheered as they washed their faces and
drunk the water.
On his arrival, the county boss was welcomed like a
hero and dressed in traditional regalia.
Esther Lomula from Epidim said they came to
witness the historic moment. She said they had to
trek for several kilometres for hours to get water at
Lagani area.
“We could get water-borne diseases and some have
even succumbed, but things will now change,” she
Veronica Nasuru said they have been having problems with water for domestic use and for their
“We have seen our livestock being stolen because
we had to take our animals several kilometres to get
water and pasture. But we will not engage is such
conflicts as we now have water, a vital commodity
to us,” she said.
Fransisca Nasieko said they will now venture into
farming using the water.
Kiraitu said they should use water prudently to
transform the area to have food security and avoid
reliance on relief food. “We will also address the
problem of insecurity,” he promised.
He said Ngaremara is a special ward and will receive
Sh10 million extra in the ward development fund,
where each ward receives Sh20 million. Deputy Governor Titus Ntochiu, who was also
present, said residents should use water well.
Benchmark territory
Earlier in September, Kakamega officials, led by
Water executive Barasa Wangwe, visited Meru to
benchmark on devolution success in the water
sector. “Water plays a lot in the devolution scorecard. That is
why we came to benchmark how Meru has developed
a masterplan it is implementing,” he said.
He said despite having better drainage than Meru,
Kakamega has low water coverage, far below the
global desire of 60 and above percentage.
He said Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya aims
to have at least 85 per cent by the time he leaves office
in 2022. His Meru counterpart Mishek Mutuma said
they are drilling solar powered boreholes.
“After sinking boreholes, we hand them to community to manage. We want to empower our community to own the project so they cater for maintenance
themselves,” he said.
Mutuma said they had pilot studies before the start
of the project in one of the areas where there is a
borehole serving over 300 families.
Villagers in places like Ngaremara, which solely
depended on livestock, have started to change their
perceptions and take up farming.

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