NAIROBI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Kenya has prioritized enhanced water management along the 480 km Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) corridor to ensure the commodity is available to communities and manufacturing entities, officials said on Monday.
Stephen Okoth, principal Water Research Officer in the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation said that sustainable access to clean drinking water is key to stimulate economic growth along the SGR corridor.
He said in a virtual forum that investments in rainwater harvesting and irrigation technologies and protection of catchment areas have been prioritized to address supply gaps in the corridor and spur the growth of agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
Senior policymakers, scholars and conservationists participated in the "Water security in the Standard Gauge Railway corridor" webinar organized by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation and Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and partners.
It was part of the Development Corridors Partnership (DCP) webinar series that have been exploring the linkage between modern infrastructure development and biodiversity protection in the East African region.
Catherine Sang, post-doctoral scientist, Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi said that incorporation of environmental and social safeguards during the construction of Mombasa-Nairobi SGR has ensured that water security is sustained.
She said that demand for water along the SGR corridor is expected to spike amid rapid urbanization, population growth, irrigated farming and the establishment of new industries.
Sang called for research and data-driven interventions to enhance the protection of water sources in the SGR corridor as threats linked to climate change and competition from different economic sectors mount.
Experts pointed out that policy harmonization, research and community participation are key to boost water security along Kenya's SGR corridor.