One on one with Davis and Shitliff Group CEO

It is said that in future, world wars will be fought over water. Although water covers 70% of the earth, only 2.5 percent is fresh and fit for human, plant and animal consumption. Even then, just 1 percent of the freshwater is easily accessible as most of it is trapped in glaciers and snowfields.
Water is a very basic and essential commodity for life. Humans can forego food for three weeks but cannot survive without water for more than a week.
Whilst people could utilize water more efficiently, its preciousness is only appreciated during long dry spells when it is scarce. In this context, Hortfresh Journal interviewed the Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Davis & Shirtliff David Gatere, a leading supplier of water and energy related equipment for over 70 years in the East African region.
What are your views on water utilization in Kenya?
Kenyans need to be aware of the available tips for conserving and using water which include:
• Where possible, using modern water saving flush toilets that distinguish between big and small jobs.
• Investing in water/rain harvesting and storage in the wet season. Global warming has negated season predictability and tree planting should be encouraged as a way of curbing this phenomenon.
• Recycling water for various domestic use for example farming, cleaning.
• Treated water should be limited to what is required for cooking and drinking – it is wasteful to have potable water at every outlet in the house and garden.
• A national culture that values and encourages saving water, not only during dry spells but at all times. A culture that seeks to preserves water towers, protects underground aquifers and conserves natural water masses will secure the country’s future.
• Enact laws that promote prudent water practices.
• Building codes and regulations should be changed to allow plumbing for potable and recycled water.
• Adopt best practice from water scarce countries that know how to make the most of the little rain they receive for domestic, commercial and irrigation purposes.
World Water Day will be celebrated on 22nd March. This year’s theme is ‘Why Waste Water?’ It will focus on reducing and re-using wastewater. What are your views in this regard and as a company what are some of the activities that you will be involved in to commemorate this day?
World Water Day is an annual event recognized globally as a day of taking action to tackle the looming water crisis. Today, there are over 663 million people living without safe water supply close to home and thus spend countless hours queuing or trekking too distant sources ultimately coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water. As a major player in the water industry we shall mark the World Water Day by supporting and taking part in the following initiatives:
1) The Cabinet Secretary for Water, Mr Eugene Wamalwa, will lead Kenyans in celebrating the World Water Day in Nyamira County. Together with the various stakeholders present, we shall work to chart the way forward in regard to waste water management.
2) We will run newspaper supplement in the local dailies to create public awareness on different ways people can treat and conserve water.
3) A local TV station will run a show featuring waste water management.
What role is Davis & Shirtliff playing in ensuring Kenyans and the Region at large have access to clean water?
Davis & Shirtliff was founded 71 years ago and focusses on six principal product segments: Water Pumps, Boreholes, Swimming Pools, Water Treatment, Generators and Solar. We appreciate the fact that in order for the region to prosper economically, it is essential that everybody including farmers, industries, individuals and governments have easy access to water that is adequately treated for the purposes they require. To this end Davis & Shirtliff provides a comprehensive and competitively priced product range that offers value, quality and unrivalled service support through the more than 50 branches in the region.
Davis & Shirtliff has impacted the lives of thousands of people in the region over the years and has partnered with different organizations to improve people’s lives. We recently donated a solar powered borehole pump to Longido Community in Namanga, Kajiado and installed another large one at Lopiding High School in Lodwar. In the early 1990’s in collaboration with Green Force Movement and the Danish Government, we were involved in a water project at Chepararia Girls Secondary School which went a long way in boosting the school’s academic performance and improving the quality of the students’ lives. We have also partnered with Rift Valley Water Services Board, numerous county governments and water service companies to provide water using solar energy which is reliable, sustainable and now quite affordable.
Since the early 1990s, Davis & Shirtliff has expanded from having just the one outlet in the Industrial Area in Nairobi and now has over 30 branches in Kenya and Subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda and a partnership in Ethiopia. Last year, new branches were opened in Jinja, Uganda; Chachacha, Zambia and in Embu, Kitui, Utawala and Narok. In February this year we opened our newest subsidiary in Lubumbashi in south eastern DRC Congo. All these branches have brought our products closer to the consumers who need them.

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