The launch of a special police unit to protect water facilities is a great idea.
The country suffers from a severe water crisis due to drought, forest degradation, floods, lack of proper water supply management, the contamination of water and demand from a growing population.
Add sabotage and degradation of water catchment areas and the need for special protection becomes even more manifest.
The Water Protection Unit’s (WPU) mandate will be to protect critical water assets, in much the same way as other vital infrastructure such as the oil pipeline, bridges and mobile phone masts.
These have increasingly come under attack by terrorists in the northern and coastal regions. The unit will comprise officers from the Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit and its brief will be to ensure that water facilities are safeguarded.
Protecting water facilities against vandalism and terrorism is a national priority. The terrorist threat to infrastructure and other vulnerable targets is among the most serious global security challenges today.
The Interior ministry’s move is laudable, but it calls for close cooperation with its Water counterpart. It is thus important to match words with actions by quickly identifying areas of vulnerability.
This initiative is in response to sabotage and attacks on infrastructure by terrorists. It should include curbing wastage and pollution and protecting the delicate water catchment zones.
Global warming, the contamination of drinking water and the lack of development of water resources have worsened the water crisis.
About half of Kenya’s population of nearly 50 million lacks access to clean water.
Recurrent droughts, poor management of water supply, contamination of available water and growing population growth are some of the challenges. These have been fuelled by decreasing rainfall as climate change bites.
Protection of water facilities is essential, as this is a water-scarce country due to the low supply of renewable freshwater.
Urgently needed are policies to protect water catchment areas, reduce pollution and enhance access to clean water and sanitation.