Reckitt Benckiser (RB) is calling on all stakeholders in water and sanitation sectors to start exploring smart ways of boosting access to water to free up millions of Kenyans still dependent on non-reliable water sources as the world marks World Water Day 2021.
Sachin Varma, Reckitt Benckiser General Manager, East Africa said leveraging on smart strategies including data-based approaches will help address future water and sanitation stress that is largely driven by demand than supply.
“If we apply smart strategies that we already know work in the urban, rural and agricultural contexts, we can reduce future conflict and secure more water for equitable development and growth,” said Varma.
Varma said evidence-based approach will help cushion Kenya which is currently experiencing urbanization pressures with significant implications for water use and sanitation management in the country’s cities.
Most urban centers in the country already face rising water and sanitation demands and problems, such as pollution and overexploitation.
Kenya’s urban population is currently at 12 million and is projected will more than triple to 40 million by 2050.
“It is therefore essential for players to get good water and sanitation data that is up to date and in effect help apply the right interventions based on reliable information,” said Varma.
According to Varma, water and sanitation go hand in hand and it is an important way to achieve efficient and equitable access, and of encouraging conservation and protection of water resources. This is in line with the World Water Day 2021 theme, Valuing Water.
“This year as we focus on valuing water, we must understand the value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource,” he said.
He urged stakeholders to amplify their voice during this World Water Day to raise awareness on the need to value water as part of wider efforts to support initiatives towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
“In the spirit of SDG 6, clean water and sanitation are basic human rights, and they should be easily accessible to all. We have sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this, and if we continue to invest in infrastructure and planning, we will be able to lift millions of people especially children out of the dangers posed by inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene,” Sachin added.
RB has also underscored the importance of working closely with communities and other stakeholders towards the sustainability of water interventions. Helping communities in both urban and rural areas take ownership of their water solutions and transferring that to their neighbours is one of the best ways to ensure these projects and interventions remain a part of people’s lives.
RB has partnered with Sanergy to accelerate access to safe sanitation services for the urban underserved population.
The on-going partnership is mapping out and developing effective campaigns that boost awareness on the urgent need for adopting innovative solutions that tackle sanitation and waste management gaps in Kenya’s cities sustainably.
“Cities today are growing rapidly. In Kenya, 10 million urban residents live in slums without adequate essential water and sanitation services for their survival. As such, there is need to implement inclusive non-conventional solutions that can be scaled quickly and that evolve as cities grow. We are excited that our dry container-based sanitation solution has demonstrated its feasibility to scale and reach urban residents living in non-sewered areas sustainably,” said Sanergy Chief Operating Officer Titus Kuria.
Sanergy’s sanitation solution serves more than 140,000 underserved urban residents of Nairobi and Kisumu every single day and its dry-container based nature is a distinct advantage as it saves on the water resource, which is highly scarce in Kenya today.