The County Government of Kitui has commissioned construction of Kwa Salangi Dam in Kitui East Sub -County.
The reservoir which has a capacity of close to 90,000 cubic meters of water is expected to boost both agricultural and pastoral activities in the region.
The dam, located in the rich livestock villages of Koi/Katumbi within Endau/Malalani Ward will serve the expansive Kalikuvu Ranch, home to over 15,000 heads of cattle from Ukasi, Nuu, Endau, Malalani, Voo and Kyamatu areas.
Speaking during an inspection tour of the site, Kitui East Sub-County Administrator Daniel Munyoto, said the project will provide a permanent solution to water problems facing local herdsmen.
“This area is endowed with adequate pasture to serve thousands of livestock throughout the year, but water is a serious challenge. We thank the governor for this project and we hope this county will be the main source of livestock in the county,’’ he said.
Munyoto also affirmed that the government has mobilized enough resources to ensure that the project is completed on time so that it could serve its purposes.
Alongside the provision of water to livestock, the dam will be an important source of water for thousands of homesteads.
The chairperson for the herder’s association, Alex Muinde, lauded the devolved unit for taking concerned efforts to address the problem of shortage of water that has hit the sub-county over the years.
Muinde noted that once the dam is complete it will create a strong source of livelihood for residents.
“We escalated our request for a dam to the governor a few days ago and true to her promise to address the issue, she sent a team today to inspect the proposed dam site,” said Muinde.
He said pastoral communities have recorded huge losses as their livestock trek for hundreds of kilometers in search of water.
“Some of our animals die due to thirst or extreme exhaustion as they trek to distant water points under the scorching sun. We appreciate the efforts by the county government and indeed the economy of the county will grow,” Muinde said.
The association consists of over 300 members, whose sole source of livelihood is animal husbandry.
In addition, Kitui East Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Ngura Mwamati, lauded the devolved unit for the initiative noting that it would provide sustainable solutions to water-related disputes between Kitui and neighboring Tana River herdsmen.
“Water scarcity has previously triggered violent conflict between the Kamba and Somali herders, but the dam will guarantee enough water for everyone hence peaceful co-existence,” Mwamati said.
Kitui County is among the twenty-three counties nationwide, severely hit by the ongoing drought.
Currently, the national government is undertaking projects such as the distribution of relief food, livestock offtake, cash transfer and water distribution program to cushion thousands of residents who are at risk of starvation.
By Denson Mututo and Diana Syong’ombe