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Lodwar to host international water summit

An international summit on water will be held in Lodwar in October.
The Turkana Water Summit will bring together water experts from around the world.

Organised by Mount Kenya University, in conjunction with UNESCO, the County Government of Turkana and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, the summit whose theme is “Water for socio-economic development” will deliberate on how the huge deposits of water discovered in the County in 2013 will be put into better economic use for the community.

Last year, it was reported that Turkana has an estimated 250 billion cubic metres of ground water, enough to last the country 70 years. Water has always been an important commodity for survival for the people living in the arid Turkana region. Though they are traditionally pastoralists, the Turkana people are gradually embracing commercial and subsistence farming for survival.

Past studies have shown that approximately 1.5 billion people live in areas where ground water supply is being consumed at unsustainable rates. Kenya consumes about 3billion cubic metres of water a year. In addition, 1.7 million of Kenya’s 41 million people lack access to safe water.
“Recent estimates also indicate that demand exceeds supply for nearly 20% of the world’s aquifers,” says Mr Vincent Gaitho, Chairman of the committee organizing the summit. “For this reason, cooperative systems that engage local stakeholders and which realise common interests are urgently needed.”

Besides bringing together key experts on water, the summit will also come up with strategies for local community involvement in the exploitation and management of water resources, propose coping strategies in the face of ground water discovery in the County and make policy recommendations that would guide sustainable ground water management. “The summit will also seek to identify research gaps in groundwater management,” said Chrispin Juma of the Ministry of Water, who is also a member of the organizing committee.

Peter Lokoel, deputy governor, Turkana County, said the summit was particularly timely, taking into account that it comes at a time has discovered oil. “For the good of the community, these two ground resources have to be managed in tandem, and in a way that is sustainable and beneficial even to the environment,” he said.  
The summit will be hosted at Eliye Springs, which is 65kms from the Lodwar town, on the shores of Lake Turkana.  

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