Residents of Kanthanje sub-location in Tharaka Nithi County risk losing lives and property including a secondary school if rain water continue to erode the walls of an earth dam in the area.
Speaking during a site visit of water projects in the area by the County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) the residents expressed concerns over the nature of the construction of a Sh19 million earth dam whose walls are unstable and likely to break down.
The CDICC noted that the 70,000 cubic metres earth dam has weak earth banks and poses a threat to homesteads in neighbouring communities and Kanthanje secondary school dormitory in the event that it breaks its banks.
The Committee that was led by its Chairperson the County Commissioner (CC) Ms. Beverly Opwora further noted that the earth dam was porous and not collecting much rain water as originally designed beside failure to have an outlet for the neighbouring community to access the collected water.
The Committee further realized that the dam has encroached into an access road for a health centre and that a neighbour Mr. Daniel Murimi was having disputes with the National Irrigation Board (NIB) over land boundaries besides the Catholic Diocese of Meru claiming ownership of the piece of land where the dam is sited.
CDICC directed the NIB resident Engineer Raymond Mugambi to ensure that he establishes the true ownership of the land and formalize the documentation with the relevant authorities.
The committee further directed Eng. Mugambi to follow up on the services of an independent consultant to advice NIB on whether the earth dam which is quickly degenerating can be salvaged for the good of the people of Kanthanje.
The committee further cautioned NIB and other government agencies entrusted with implementing government projects to ensure they hold a public participation forum to enable the beneficiaries give their input and maximize returns from government resources to their intended beneficiaries.
By David Mutwiri