At first, it was guggle. The crowd went silent. Soon the guggle paved the way to a gush. The crowd raptured into cheers. Kids skittered and jumped into the trough spluttering and enjoying the cool waters on this hot afternoon. Water flowed fast and furious. It was the first time water was piped to this sun-scorched world of Chepungus, Baringo County.
This explains why Mr Amos Losute, a resident, is a happy man. A cattle keeper who has seen punitive drought decimate his herd, Mr Losute today stands proud admiring his cattle quaffing water from one of
the troughs that the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has installed.
“This is a miracle,” Mr Losute chimes. “I had never imagined a day when water would flow near my doorstep.”
“Before GDC started to supply water here, life was miserable,” he recollects. “We used to trek the whole day in search of water. It was a real hardship. Children dropped out of school and our cattle died. Not anymore.”
Indeed, water has revolutionised life here. For the thirsty semi-arid frontier, fortunes here started to change with the arrival of piped water from GDC.
This project targets 50, 000 people. “The community is at the heart of our operations,” says Ms Grace Mwai, the Manager in charge of community relations at GDC. “Our holistic development means that we also need to uplift the lifestyles and living standards of our host communities.”
GDC has identified water, health, environment, and education as critical areas for its social investment and strategic intervention.
This is how the Baringo water is designed: GDC has established 20 strategic watering points straddling an incredible 160 kilometres. The water system has the capacity to pump 10,000 litres of water per hour.
The water is treated using reverse osmosis at 20 treatment plants strewn in the semi-arid world. GDC has also laid out an elaborate network of watering troughs that serve thousands of cattle.
“This water has transformed our community,” Mr Losute says. “Now children are going to school. Our wives are even trying small-scale businesses. They no longer waste time searching for water.”
-First appeared in the Daily Nation on August 11, 2021