Italian energy giant Azienda Generale Italian Petroli (Agip) has partnered with Lamu County to construct a desalination plant in Kenya. The desalination plant in Kenya will harness the Indian Ocean to provide fresh water to residents.
Agip an energy firm owned by Italian oil major ENI, will see the Sh20 million plant established at Siyu Village in the Lamu archipelago.
The project will harness the resource from the Indian Ocean to allow for subsistence use of desalinated water by residents of Lamu East.
It also presents a new ray of hope for the area’s inhabitants who have had challenges accessing the precious resource with many being forced to rely on salty water even for use at home.
“This is a timely project for the people of this area. On behalf of the people of Siyu and the County Government of Lamu at large, I want to sincerely congratulate Agip for their kind gesture to establish the desalination project in this area,” said Lamu governor Issa Timamy.
Addressing a gathering at Siyu, the Italian Ambassador to Kenya Mauro Masoni thanked Mr Timamy and Lamu’s residents for supporting the project.
“I think it is extremely important to realize a project like this in this very dry island. I believe it will greatly improve your lives,” said Amb Masoni.
Once started, the plant will be completed within six months and is projected to produce at least 2,500 litres of fresh water an hour.
Water Executive Fatma Awale said a five-month feasibility study done by a Japanese company, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, had concluded that desalination of the Indian Ocean sea water as a viable project that could permanently address water shortage in Mombasa.
Water desalination is a process that separates dissolved salts and other minerals from water. Mombasa has no fresh water sources and depends on supply from Mzima Springs in Taita Taveta, Baricho Water Works in Kilifi, Tiwi boreholes and Marere Water Supply in Kwale county.
The county receives 48 million litres of water daily from these sources against a demand of 186m litres. According to Awale, the plant will be situated along the coastline for easy harvesting of sea water before it is converted to fresh water for consumption in Mombasa.
Acute shortages have in the past forced the Lamu government to seek external help from well-wishers and donors to address the issue that is now worsened by an ongoing drought.