The government will not allow on-going development projects to stall or be interrupted by developers who claim ownership of public utility land they have encroached on.
Nairobi County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) members have resolved not to entertain such disputes in the near future to ensure that government projects were completed in time.
The members who were on a fact finding mission at the Karura and Loresho reservoir sites to where the Nairobi City Water Distribution Modification project was underway were shocked to learn that the works had stalled following a standoff over land ownership.
The CDICC team led by Ms. Jane Katuse from the Nairobi Regional Commissioner’s office and Mr. Kinoti Gatobu from the President’s Delivery Unit found that a private developer was constructing a building within the compound of Nairobi City Water and Sewerage reservoir offices in Loresho in total disregard of the rule of law.
Gatobu who is also the Secretary of the committee said it was improper for individuals who have encroached government facilities to claim ownership to the government property.
Out of 4,440 acres of land in the 11 Water and Sewerage facilities in Nairobi County, a total of 2,725.80 acres have been encroached by people claiming ownership.
The 11 water and sewerage facilities whose parcels of land have been allocated to individuals include 2,603.43 acres of Dandora Estate sewerage works, 33.69 acres of Kariobangi sewerage WWTP, 34.04 acres of Kabete treatment works and tanks, 4.36 acres of Karura reservoir, 0.74 from Loresho reservoir, 0.44 Farasi lane pumping station and 5.12 at Karen ponds.
Other parcels of land grabbed are 0.69 of Karen break pressure tank, 9.88 acres in Kahawa West Treatment ponds, and 33.42 acres of Eastleigh former sewerage treatment plant.
Briefing the members on the progress of the government and World Bank funded water and sanitation projects in the County, Eng. Joshua Ichang’i from the Athi Water Development Agency said the water and sewerage facility at Outer Ring tower is also at risk as it was originally measuring 0.250 hectares that has greatly reduced through encroachment.
“Kikuyu Springs Water Source measuring 11.2 acres and Gigiri Reservoirs 31.1 acres are presently at risk of being grabbed. Staff quarters at Gigiri water offices have also been encroached,” said Ichang’i.
He said the Water and Sewerage facilities should be issued with title deeds to deter people from illegally acquiring their land, noting that a section of Karura offices compound which has a reservoir serving North and Eastern parts of Nairobi has been encroached.
Eng. Ichang’i said the refusal by some residents of Loresho to allow the contractor access the estate to install a pipeline at a 650 metres stretch of riparian land where there is a stream has delayed the progress of the 3.5 million Nairobi City Water Distribution Modification project works, as residents have taken the matter to court.
“People should avoid court cases because government projects are meant to serve all Kenyans,” he said and urged residents to allow the contractor to do his work.
He said the Loresho reservoir will also serve residents of Karen and Uthiru.
Mr. Gatobu said the encroachment has led to court cases that has stalled the City Water Distribution Modification project works. The encroachment, he added, will also hamper the expansion of current and future projects.
The team was today meeting the residents of Loresho where the pipeline is to be installed to reach an agreement on how the works will continue.
By Bernadette Khaduli