The government has set aside Sh150 million in the supplementary budget to compensate and have residents of Gatundu North Sub County who live close to the already full Kariminu II Dam relocated.
Water Cabinet Secretary Zachary Njeru said some 122 locals from Iruri, Kiriko, Gathanji, and Kanyoni villages, whose properties, including land and homes, are on the verge of being submerged by the dam water, will have to relocate to safer places to avert any tragedy.
“The dam is now full to capacity, and the excess water is spilling safely back into the Kariminu River. We have established that there is no cause for alarm. However, those living downstream and closer to it should move and be vigilant to avert a tragedy,” the CS noted.
He was speaking on Monday when he toured the dam to assess the situation.
The CS was accompanied by his Principal Secretary Julius Korir, and Athi Water Service Board acting CEO, Eng Joseph Kamau.
Njeru added that the valuation of the residents’ property is being fast-tracked in order to speed up the compensation exercise.
He assured that the exercise will be fair to avert any standoff, as was witnessed during the initial stages of the construction of the dam.
On fears that other mega dams, including Sasumua and Ndakaini dams, are posing a threat to locals living downstream, the CS dispelled the fears, saying they are in good condition and are being monitored. He, however, called on those close to them and also downstream to be on alert.
The CS, at the same time, said the government is keen to construct more mega dams, citing the proposed Grand Falls dam in Tana River County and the Ndarugu 11 dam in Gatundu North.
A section of residents where the Sh13 billion Ndarugu 11 dam is earmarked for construction have since vowed not to cede their ancestral land for the project.
They have already lodged a case against the implementation of the project at the Lands and Environment Court in Thika.
They claimed that the dam was unnecessary since Kariminu 11 dam is kilometres away.
“We are in talks with the landowners to reach a consensus. We are aware that some people are inciting the residents, but we know we will have solutions soon,” he said.
By Muoki Charles