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Update SPONGE City Kajiado program

Kajiado town is situated in Kajiado County, one of the 47 counties in Kenya. Kajiado town (16.000 inhabitants, in 2013) faces a number of serious water challenges, both in runoff management as well as in water supply. To overcome the water issues in Kajiado town interventions, such as infiltration pits/galleries, flow gardens, parks, wetlands as well as retention structures can be implemented. The interventions aim to turn Kajiado into a SPONGE city, in which urban infrastructure is used to retain rainwater and recharge groundwater, to make it work like a SPONGE. A SPONGE city absorbs, stores, leaks and purifies water and releases it for re-use when necessary. Next to improved access to clean water, the program in Kajiado will also improve the quality of the urban environment as well as increased resilience to climate change, in the context of ongoing urbanization.

On July 20th SPONGE consortium members, NIA, RAIN, AMREF, MTTI, and representatives of seven relevant county departments met to discuss intermediate results of the SPONGE City Kajiado program. The meeting was organized to highlight all the county government departments that are key to the project’s success and to establish a partnership for the project. RAIN highlighted key steps of the project, such as problem definition, piloting, implementing solutions and research and dissemination for scale. Possible simple cost effective solutions to absorb rainwater and reduce storm water flows were indicated on a map of the city. Also, water quality issues were discussed. The different county departments provided their policies, aims and plans for Kajiado town, as well as useful comments on the proposed solutions. The departments were very supportive towards the goals of the SPONGE city program and agreed to cooperate with the consortium. They appreciated the fact that the consortium took the initiative to bring all county departments together and to share experiences related to sustainable management of the urban environments. A committee of county departments was established to enable further interaction among county representatives and SPONGE city Kajiado consortium members.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is on its way to be signed by all organizations involved.

In the afternoon a selection of sites was visited to discuss feasibility of the proposed SPONGE city solutions. Possible linkages with other county plans and developments were discussed in the field. Also ideas of the different departments and consortium partners were shared and noted for follow up. Altogether, the meeting and field visit were an important step towards the establishment of SPONGE city Kajiado.

RAIN is a brand of Aidenvironment, setting up programs and projects focusing on rainwater harvesting and 3R techniques.

For more information, please contact Arnoud Keizer.