A Tweed Shire Council volunteer is travelling to western Kenya this week to upgrade drinking water plants built by the Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program (TKMP), now in its 13th year of operation.
The program has built four water purification plants in Siaya, Nyanza province, about 10 hours’ drive from the capital of Nairobi, delivering safe drinking water to 6,000 people in four rural villages.
Tweed Shire Council’s acting water and wastewater manager, Michael Wraight, will spend two weeks in Kenya overseeing the installation of new microfiltration systems in two of the plants, which were established by previous Tweed volunteers in 2008 and 2009.
This will give the local people another 10 years of safe drinking water.
Mr Wraight said the filters have ‘a really tough but important job to do as people’s health and welfare depend on them’.
‘Unfortunately, the quality of the source water from four earth dams is very poor as the dams are also used by cattle and are highly contaminated by silt and manure,’ he said.
‘From an engineering perspective, creating purified water for these communities is essentially the same as what we do at the Bray Park Water Treatment Plant, where we also use membrane microfiltration systems. The difference is the setting.
‘In the Tweed we have access to the world’s best technicians, tools and resources whereas in Kenya, where the mentoring program operates, there is no government support and little in the way of tools and resources to maintain the water treatment plants.
‘My job in Kenya will be to replace the membrane filters, the core of the water treatment plants, to give them another 10 years of life.
Mr Wraight’s visit to Kenya will be the eighth by Tweed Shire Council volunteers.
To find out more or support this volunteer council staff initiative to to https://tkmp.tweed.nsw.gov.au/