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Horticultural farmers warned against altering river flows for irrigation

Horticultural farmers in Laikipia County have been warned against obstructing rivers for irrigation and in doing so leaving people without water.

Water Resources Authority (WRA) Chairperson Isaac Kuntai speaking at a community engagement about water issues in Daiga, Umande ward, Laikipia, said it was illegal to alter rivers flows.

“No one is allowed to alter environmental flows of rivers in the country. Stopping river flow is illegal since access to clean water is a constitutional right for every Kenyan and whoever is found doing that, we shall take action,” warned WRA chairperson.

Kuntai was responding to claims by Daiga residents that upstream horticultural farmers were altering river flows for their benefit, hence leaving downstream residents without water.

“Those large-scale farmers should respect small scale farmers since they also require water for livestock and domestic usage. Every hustle matters and as WRA, we must stand tall to protect residents,” urged Kuntai.

To end human-wildlife conflicts in Laikipia, the government has assured rehabilitation and construction of boreholes to reduce competition of water between residents and wild animals.

“You need water as well as wild animals and for the first time in Kenya’s budget we have included water for wildlife, drilling of boreholes, water pans inside conservancy so as to confine them,” Principal Secretary in charge of Wildlife Ms Silvia Museiya told Laikipia residents.

Some of the boreholes set to be rehabilitated in Laikipia to ease water shortage include Kirimara, Ng’injie, Tetu, Daiga, Kiajomo, Bingwa special primary school and Kalalu secondary school boreholes respectively.

Recently, angry residents of Rumuruti area invaded horticultural farms and destroyed irrigation infrastructure, accusing the farm of blocking the Ngare Narok River, leaving users downstream without water.

By Muturi Mwangi

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