In a significant move towards addressing the issue of fluoride contamination in Naivasha, Governor Susan Kihika has unveiled a comprehensive water plan. This plan, a collaboration between the Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Project (KISIP) and the County Government, aims to provide over 500,000 residents with access to fluoride-free drinking water.

Governor Kihika announced the forthcoming launch of a multi-billion water reticulation and defluoridation project. This project will involve the installation of a system spanning 7.8 kilometers, from Naivasha Law Courts to the Karagita low-income settlements, encompassing piping, backfilling, and field coating.

The necessity of this initiative stems from the prevalent reliance on underground water sources by residents, particularly in areas like Longonot and Maai Mahiu within the Sub-county. This reliance has exposed them to significant health risks such as dental fluorosis and skeletal deformities.

Funding for this endeavor has been secured through the State Department of Housing and Urban Development, with a substantial allocation of Sh1 billion under the Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Programme II (KISIP). The World Bank, alongside the French Development Agency, has contributed to this funding to enhance infrastructure, water, lighting, and social inclusion across 33 counties.

Governor Kihika highlighted plans to increase alternative fluoride-free water sources across the county, acknowledging the high fluoride concentrations in existing boreholes, often exceeding the World Health Organization’s recommended limit of 1.5 milligrams per litre.

The introduction of piped fluoride-free water from the Malewa River marks a significant step forward for Naivasha residents. Meanwhile, ongoing efforts are being made to identify fluoride-free areas for additional borehole installations to meet the rising water demand.

The implementation of KISIP II, managed by the State Department for Housing and Urban Development in collaboration with county governments, underscores the commitment to improving living conditions in informal settlements. This initiative, bolstered by substantial funding from international bodies, is poised to transform water accessibility and quality in affected areas.

The challenge of fluoride contamination is particularly acute in underground water sources across several Sub-Counties in Nakuru. In Naivasha alone, recent studies have revealed alarmingly high fluoride levels in private boreholes, exceeding recommended thresholds.

To mitigate the impact of fluoride contamination, Governor Kihika’s administration has taken steps to ensure water service providers deliver blended water within WHO-recommended fluoride levels. Additionally, plans are underway to implement water distribution networks equipped with defluoridation filters, utilizing local bone char technology.

Local youth will play a crucial role in the implementation phase, with opportunities for employment in trench digging for pipe laying, thereby fostering community involvement and empowerment.

Fluoride contamination, a naturally occurring phenomenon, poses significant health risks to affected populations. The prevalence of dental fluorosis and skeletal defects underscores the urgent need for intervention, particularly in regions heavily reliant on underground water sources.

Efforts to address fluoride contamination extend beyond infrastructure development to encompass public education and awareness campaigns. By prioritizing access to safe drinking water, Governor Kihika’s initiative represents a significant stride towards improving public health and well-being in Naivasha and beyond.

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