Washington — The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$200 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit to the Government of Kenya to finance the multipurpose Mwache Dam and to increase access to clean water supply, sanitation and income generating activities through sustainable agriculture practices in Kwale County.

The financing will support the Kenya Coastal Region Water Security and Climate Resilience project, the second operation under an overarching Kenya Water Security and Climate Resilience Program (KWSCRP) which aims to build water security and climate resilience in the country.

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (MEWNR), the KWSCRP is currently supporting reforms and devolution in the water sector as well as activities in water resources management, irrigation, and water supply and sanitation.

Kenya’s coastal region, which is home to 3.3 million people, suffers from drought and lack of rainfall during parts of the year and flooding in the rainy season.

Poor water quality, rising sea-levels and increasing land degradation also affect local communities, which depend heavily on limited water resources for incomes, agriculture, tourism and electricity.

“The availability of clean water is crucial for millions of Kenyans fighting to raise themselves out of poverty. It is a priority for the country under its Vision 2030 and as it seeks to reach the MDGs,” said Diarietou Gaye, the World Bank Country Director for Kenya.

“This project will help to reduce health risks posed by water-borne and sanitation-related diseases, and in turn improve the economy and the environment, all factors that are vital to reducing poverty and achieving shared prosperity.”

The project will also support development in Kwale County, where the future Mwache Dam will be located, through investments in water supply, sanitation, irrigation and sustainable livelihood practices for the largely rural communities in the area.

These activities are expected to bring near-term and medium-term benefits to Kwale County. Water supply and sanitation activities will focus on eliminating open defecation, and helping to achieve universal access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for households, schools and health facilities.

Water supply in coastal Kenya is insufficient to meet the needs of people and local businesses. This is especially true in Mombasa which accounts for half of Kenya’s coastal demand for water. Construction of the Mwache Dam will address the significant shortage of bulk water supply to Mombasa and other coastal towns.

“In addition to supplying nearly 70 million cubic meters of water per year for Mombasa and Kwale, the project will increase resilience against floods and droughts, address food insecurity and constrained growth throughout the coastal region, ultimately benefitting approximately one million people,” said Gustavo Saltiel, the World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.

“The project’s emphasis on improving the sustainability of the Mwache catchment will integrate watershed management and conservation actions with the needs of local communities to develop sustainable economic activities as a step towards improving the quality of life for families in the region.”

The Government of Kenya is engaging with other development partners, such as the French development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Netherlands Vitens-Evidens International, to help finance investments in water infrastructure and service delivery in the coastal region.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

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