Stooped over knee-high rows of green gram plants on his farm in eastern Kenya, Daniel Mwangi hums a soft melody to himself while deftly using a worn machete to clear away stubborn weeds.
Just a couple of years ago, Mwangi wouldn’t have had the privilege of tending to his crops in the morning. Instead, he would have embarked on a lengthy journey to fetch water from a river situated 12 kilometers (approximately 7 miles) away.
“In the past, my entire day revolved around fetching water. The exhaustion left me with no energy for anything else,” he recounts to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
However, thanks to a recently installed solar-powered water pump, the situation has undergone a remarkable transformation. Now, the invaluable resource is conveniently delivered to his village. With the local water storage tanks brimming, Mwangi can now allocate time to the myriad tasks on his one-acre piece of land.
Access to clean water remains a persistent challenge for numerous disadvantaged households in rural Kenya. Families attribute this problem to a variety of factors, including insufficient infrastructure and a perceived lack of government commitment to uplift the most marginalized segments of the population.
Nevertheless, in specific regions such as Mwangi’s residence in Tharaka Nithi – where access to electricity is still limited – an innovative solution is emerging. Solar energy is being harnessed to power water pumps that draw water from nearby rivers to cater to irrigation needs and rural drinking water requirements.
The collected water is then directed into storage tanks strategically positioned within the village, offering a convenient source that residents can tap into without incurring any associated expenses.