Water is scarce, creating sustainability issues for farmers. Those who don’t have water tanks or any other water storage system rely on water from nearby streams or piped water from the water supply project. Both sources are rarely continuous. During the dry season there are restrictions in the water from the current project and a farmer might only get water two to three days per week. The days that he doesn’t get water, he has to walk to another neighbour who is getting water that day.
This project will not only help farmers directly, but will also increase water flow in the rivers to very dry areas down the river streams. With their own water storage capacities that will cater for farmers for some months, it will reduce water taken from the river, which has historically caused conflicts with pastoral communities in Samburu and Isiolo areas further down river who often have reduced water supply.
Having a water tank helps the farmer to store rainwater, from roof gutters, when available. He/she can then use it when there are restrictions or drought. A 3000ltr water tank can store enough water for the farmer to use for domestic purposes and develop a home vegetable garden throughout the year.
The project has been funded by the Fair Trade premium. This requirement of the Fair Trade certification stipulates extra money paid on top of the farm gate price must be channelled into a separate fund for social, environmental and community projects, with the aim of contributing to the development of the producers and their local communities.
In the words of one of the farmers “These water tanks are a dream come true”, as many farmers could never afford to buy them alone.