On September 2013 a huge reservoir of water was discovered in Turkana County. This was the second major natural resource to be discovered in Turkana after oil was was discovered in March 2012.
Results of a groundwater study showed that Turkana is home to a reserve of 250 billion cubic meters of water that if properly managed could supply the country’s water needs for close to 70 years. The finding, according to the government study, could heighten the country’s share of accessible water by 8.5 percent. It was also likely to double the amount of water that was available for consumption in the country today, ultimately improving the lives of Kenyans living in water scarce areas, Turkana being the major beneficiary.
Turkana residents were promised to enjoy the newly discovered resource in the next two months after the water was discovered. More that six months down the line, Turkana residents are now facing the worst drought eve. Images of malnourished children on out television screens this week presented a very worrying situation. Cases of malnutrition among children are now on the rise.
Local health facilities record an average of 10 cases of acute malnutrition daily. There was an instance where a woman even fed puppies to his family. This should not be the case in an area that has now been identified as the best investment destination. What happened to the relief food that is always being supplied in the area?
Some MPs from the area while appealing for aid from the government to address the ongoing drought on the area, accused contractors assigned to develop irrigation schemes for being sluggish.
However there have been reports that engineers will by the end of this week start pumping water to the residents from the huge underground reservoirs. Turkana residents will the start receiving the water in March. This is indeed a step in the right direction, but still it should have been done earlier.
The government needs to give Turkana so much attention. In conjunction with the Turkana county government, it should ensure that the county takes the maiden steps towards producing its own food. We must agree with this, the county could just be a regional food basket. Maybe cases of famine will now be a thing of the past.
The discovery of oil deposits should also also be a good step towards putting the poorly disregarded area on the world map, hence improving the living standards of the residents.