Water shortages in Nairobi and parts of Kiambu counties will be a thing of the past after the increased levels of the Kariminu2 mega-dam in Gatundu North due to heavy rains that have been pounding the area over the past one month.
Athi Water Works Development Agency Board Chairperson Patrick Musili said the dam’s water volume has increased incredibly, enough to run for months.
Speaking during a tree planting exercise at the banks of the Sh24 billion dam, Musili said Nairobi and Kiambu counties have the dam and are thankful for the consistent water supply they received during the prolonged dry spell.
“Maybe some don’t know, but had it not been for Kariminu2 dam distributing water to Kiambu and Nairobi County between January and March, water scarcity might have bitten those areas harder,” he said.
He said the plan is to have the facility give out a sizable amount of water together with the national Northern Water Collection Tunnel to fully end water shortages in the said counties.
“We are giving out 140,000 cubic metres of water daily, which has managed to address the shortages. Once the dam is full from the increased rains, it is supposed to hold 256 billion litres of water, enough to end water shortages once and for all,” he said.
The agency’s CEO, Michael Thuita, said plans are underway to rope in Thika, Juja, and Gatundu North and South Sub counties into the water distribution programme.
He said they are in the process of putting up six offtakes to enhance water supply in the Gatundu region.
This will be a huge boost to residents who have been protesting over an acute water shortage despite hosting the dam.
They will now be drawing water from the offtakes alongside another water plant that the government is putting up at Kinale Forest.
On the progress of Ndarugo Dam, another mega-dam that the government is in the process of constructing in the area, though efforts have stalled after opposition from residents, Thuita said the government has started talks with aggrieved residents of Mwimuto, Kanjuku, Gatei, Gathaiti, and Githobokoni areas where construction is expected to take place.
The locals have declined to cede land for the construction of the dam and have since moved to court seeking stoppage of the project, insisting that the area does not need another dam as Karimenu2 is only three kilometers away.
But Thuita insisted that the isolation of the affected persons had kicked off so as to win locals to support the project.
Thika Lands and Environment Court Presiding Judge Oscar Angote said the judiciary will prioritize hearing of succession matters in the Gatundu area to facilitate the acquisition of more land for the enhancement of Karimenu2 dam’s environment.
“The completion of Kariminu2 dam was a challenge because of land succession cases. The Ndarugo Dam is suffering from the same fate. To cure this, we will be fast-tracking hearings and the determination of land matters,” he said.
Resources Oriented Development Initiatives (RODI), a civil society organization that deals with environmental conservation, said they will employ local youths to nurture the trees for a year.
RODI Kenya CEO Esther Bett said communities need to be sensitized on best practices for nurturing indigenous trees that are key to water conservation.
By Muoki Charles