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Government’s Sh1.5 billion water project on course

The implementation of the Baquli V water and sewerage project in Marsabit County funded by the national government at a cost of Sh1.5 billion is on course.
The government’s commitment to solve the prevalent water scarcity that has dogged Marsabit Town for many years could bear fruits through the project which is being implemented by Sinohydro international, a Chinese firm.
While on a status verification tour of the project which started five months ago, the County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) was informed that construction of sewerage treatment works was progressing well at Jirme area but work on the water intake and laying of a concreate pipeline had not commenced.
The CDICC, lead by Marsabit County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo, was informed that the contractor has been unable to start work at the dam site and to lay the pipeline for the last four months because the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has not authorized access to land for the expansion of the current reservoir.
Likewise, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has not licensed the clearing of a section of the forest despite having been paid Sh3.4 million for the trees and the acquired way leaves.
The County Commissioner said the committee would strive to have the required documents availed within two weeks so that the contractor could embark on his work and if possible make for the lost time.
“Authorization of land allocation from the KWS and tax approval from the Kenya Revenue Authority on the materials for building the concrete water pipeline is very important to enable the contractor to start building the dam,” said the CC.
He said that water scarcity in Marsabit town and its environs would be adequately addressed with the completion of the project.
The County Commissioner assured Marsabit residents that they would get value for money of all development projects as the CDICC would be monitoring the progress of each project being implemented by the government.
He also said that the committee is doing follow ups on other projects like the Badasa Dam that stalled about four years ago, irrigation schemes scattered across the county, last mile connectivity and the digital literacy program.
The Northern Water Services Board plans to double the water output by expanding the current reservoir where silt has accumulated over the years.
Water is such a precious commodity in Marsabit that venders, some using trucks, have made it their sole source of livelihood.
Records indicate that statutory requirements for the project have been acquired including a license from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and a water permit from Water Resources Management Authority.
By Sebastian Miriti

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