The household water pans project by National Irrigation Board (NIB) has received praises for effectively preventing flood menace in Nyangala division in Voi sub-county and thereby saving hundreds of farmers from annual losses incurred whenever it rains.
The NIB has constructed 290 household waterpans for farmers in Maungu and Kasighau location for storing water for both domestic consumption and irrigation. The water pans were also meant to divert destructive flood waters to be channeled into useful purposes.
Speaking on Tuesday, the Nyangala Assistant County Commissioner (ACC), Agnes Wangari said over 300 more farmers in the region had applied for the water pans.
She noted that while in the past the hilly region was plagued by incessant flooding whenever it rained, the pattern changed after the waterpans were constructed.
“The bulk of the water that used to flow unchecked through the farms and all the way to the highway now goes to the water pans. We have significantly checked on the flooding in these two locations,” she said.
The state department of Irrigation under the Ministry of Agriculture had on March last year disclosed that the government would construct a total of 125,000 waterpans in Arid and Semi-Arid lands and other areas prone to flooding.
The initiative was intended for both controlling the perennial menace of flooding and bolstering food security by providing means for irrigating farms in dry season.
The Taita-Taveta County was allocated water pans with a total carrying capacity of 128,900 cubic metres. This is equivalent of 128 million liters of water.
Of the four sub-counties, Voi and Mwatate are the beneficiaries of this project. Targeted areas, include Maungu, Kasighau and Kamutonga.
Ms. Wangari said unlike in the past where many farms were destroyed and property lost, there had been great reduction in such cases. The success is largely attributed to the NIB’s water pans.
“We can say the water pans have worked to control the floods,” she said.
She however, noted that there was need to provide the farmers with dam liners to avoid the water percolating into the ground due to the porosity of the soil, noting that days after the rains stopped, most water pans were empty because water got rapidly absorbed in the ground.
“The farmers should be provided with dam liners to ensure water does not sink into the ground. Most water stored simply goes to waste as the soil is too porous,” she said.
The County Commissioner, Rhoda Onyancha had asked the NIB officials to liaise with county department of agriculture to sensitize the farmers on how to secure the water pans to avoid livestock and children accidentally falling in.
Currently, most water pans have neither fences nor dam liners because the two were not part of the initial construction designs.
By Wagema Mwangi