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Concern over drying of big rivers in Central Kenya

The  Central Regional Commissioner (RC), Wilfred  Nyagwanga  has warned those who have channeled water from local rivers to irrigate their farms during this dry period that they will be arrested and prosecuted.

Nyagwanga said they had information that some farmers who practice commercial agriculture in the area have tapped into the local rivers to irrigate various food crops, leading to the drying up of water sources.

He said they will not allow a few individuals to enrich themselves as majority of residents downstream suffer from water shortage.

Speaking after he toured Thika town to monitor the progress made on the Huduma Namba registration on  Wednesday, the RC said he  will ensure the water flow in the rivers is normalized to help residents downstream to access water for domestic use.

He said the government will ensure availability of water for domestic use during this dry period to everyone and called on residents to report to authorities areas where farmers have tapped river water into their farms so that necessary action can be taken.

The  RC said they will ensure the region’s big rivers : Thika, Chania and Sagana have constant water flow during this period.

“Some weeks back, the water levels at Chania and Thika rivers were considerably high. However as we speak, the two rivers and River Sagana are drying up. We suspect some individuals have tapped the waters to irrigate their farms. This will not be allowed as it robs residents’ downstream water for domestic use,” he said.

This  comes as residents from the dry areas of Thika East Sub County which border Machakos and Murang’a Counties complain of dry rivers.

They  claimed the rivers have few water access points which are drying up each day and that they are forced to walk several  kilometres to access them.

“The rivers were flowing regularly some weeks ago and we were able to access water without challenges. However, they are drying up each passing day. We are now forced to walk several kilometers in search of water for domestic use. Our livestock too are suffering,” said Dominic Waita, a Kilimambogo resident.

Meanwhile, majority of  residents  in  the region  who had already prepared their farms for the planting season are also distressed  following delayed rains amid fears that the coming few months might be unbearable.

“Having dry rivers and streams, and empty granaries will be a disaster. Already, we are hunger-stricken due to low yields in the last harvests. We had done our part by preparing our farms and some have even planted seeds waiting for the rains.

We only hope it rains soon,” said Mary Kinuthia, another resident.

By  Muoki  Charles

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