By Fred Biketi
The size of the window of opportunity depends on the degree and scope of societal demands and that is exactly what Peter Kasaine, a resident of Nkoile location near Bulls Eye trading centre did to deal with the biting shortage of water in the area.
Armed with the experience he has acquired over the years while working as a civil servant in the water sector, Kasaine took on the task with relative ease.
Accessing underground water in Kajiado is no mean task; it takes time and money to access the liquid that is over 200 meters deep.
To undertake the task, one must be prepared both financially and psychologically because the chance of not getting water after spending a lot of money in an exercise that takes months to drill boreholes is never discounted.
And so Kasaine took a bank loan to undertake the task described by his wife Jane, “as very expensive and challenging” that was completed in December last year.
“We invested over Sh2 million to drill a 230-metres deep borehole, purchased 51 solar panels to pump the water, laid pipes and also installed tanks to store the water which flows through gravity because the source near our house is on high ground,” said Mrs Kasaine.
In total, Kasaine pumps 22 cubic meres of water per hour which converts to 22,000 litres of water.
The solar panels are also very expensive because they have power output ratings from 250 to 400 watts, depending on panel size and how well they convert sunlight into energy.
Mrs Kasaine is happy that they managed to install the panels otherwise the cost of running the pump using electricity could have been transferred to consumers making the water costly and unaffordable to most people especially poor farmers.
With two pipes, one serving people collecting water for domestic use and the other a large herds of cows owned by people living around Nkoile trading centre, popularly known as Bulls Eye, the water collection yard is always a beehive of activity.
“We charge Sh5 per 20 litre jerrican for domestic users and Sh30 per head for those who bring their cattle here to drink water daily,” says Mrs Kasaine.
At intervals of between one and two hours, water boozer trucks from Ilbissil owned by vendors pop in to collect water from the disposal area that sits about 20 metres away, across a murrum road passing near the home.
Although the Ilbissil area also has community boreholes constructed through donor support and operated by attendants employed by the County government, many people prefer using Kasaine’s water because it is not salty and it is also very affordable.
The family does not collect cash from users because all, including farmers who must provide records of how many cows they bring every day to drink water are registered and are expected to make payments monthly.
“Business is not bad but it is also more of a service to the community because of the big loan amounting to over Sh2 million that we are currently serving. So it will take time before we begin earning profit from this project,” says Mrs Kasaine.
Among the high profile users of water supplied from Kasaine’s pump, is former Registra of the High Court Jacob Ole Kipury.
The water supply by Kasaine has had a very big impact in the area because Masai pastoralists were losing a lot of animals during drought due to lack of water but they have at least managed to maintain their stocks because of the project.
“We lost a lot of animals over the years, making it difficult to now find a person owning over 50 cows but with the steady supply of water we are slowly getting back although it will take time,” said Moses Kooshopa, a resident of Ilbissil.