David Ndubi Stower, C.Eng, F.ASCE, a civil engineering professional with over 40 years’ experience in design, construction, and management of civil and water services infrastructure, project financing, and public administration, has been named a Fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.
Stower was employed in 1979 as an assistant engineer in Kenya’s Ministry of Water, where he rose through the ranks to become chief engineer / director of water and ultimately to lead the Ministry as permanent secretary (PS). He has also served as PS for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and Ministry of Regional Development, with an exemplary record.
Upon early retirement from the civil service in 2013, he went into the private sector, joining the venerable engineering consultancy firm East African Engineering Consultants (EAEC). Concurrently, he is also a Senior Professional Practice Fellow, faculty of engineering and built environment at the Technical University of Kenya, Nairobi.
Stower was granted a JICA fellowship for waterworks engineering training in Tokyo and later a USTDA/CONTRAN fellowship for a field study tour of the United States agriculture and dairy sectors (2005). While serving as Director of Water, Ministry of Water, he steered a groundbreaking water sector reform program in Kenya to radically change the underperforming and underfunded service delivery framework that was meeting the water needs of only about 30 percent of the population. This also targeted the country’s prevailing, chronic water resources scarcity. The outcome was a new water policy and institutional and legal framework adopted by the national parliament.
With the new institutional architecture, eight autonomous regional waterworks agencies as well as many public and private water companies were created to focus on service delivery. These changes resulted in an increase of 50 percent in public access to water services besides attracting huge donor funding of the sector. In his role as PS in the Ministry of Water, Stower initiated a major national water conservation and storage development program to respond to the fragile renewable freshwater resources base. Under this initiative, more than 20 large dams were proposed to form the focus for new sector investment.
Stower also supervised a complete policy overhaul of the national irrigation subsector, which had literally collapsed. The outcome was a new national irrigation policy and legislation that has revamped the subsector to cushion Kenya from overreliance on rain-fed agriculture. Finally, under his management, EAEC successfully designed waterworks for Nairobi international airport, a feasibility study for the over 260,000 Ha. Greater Bura irrigation scheme, and was recently awarded design review and supervision of Kilifi Town Highway, funded by World Bank.
His service has earned him the Order of Chief of the Burning Spear from the President of the Republic of Kenya, and he was simultaneously elected vice patron of the Agricultural Society of Kenya in recognition of his immense contribution to irrigated agriculture.
Stower holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering and a postgraduate diploma in water and wastewater engineering from University of Nairobi. He earned his master of science degree in water resources systems engineering from the University of Newcastle, U.K.