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Planner blames unregulated real estate development for flooding in urban areas

A consultant planner in Nakuru city, Timothy Maina has attributed the flooding in Kenyan cities and towns to a combination of natural and human factors, claiming that many urban areas lack proper drainage systems, which are essential for managing excess stormwater.

Mr. Maina observed that rapid urbanization often leads to the replacement of natural permeable surfaces with impermeable ones, such as concrete and asphalt.

He said these changes reduce the ability of the land to absorb rainfall, hence, increasing surface runoff and the risk of flooding.

In an interview with KNA in Nakuru today, Mr. Maina also pointed out that deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation have further reduced the natural capacity of land to absorb and retain water.

“Without sufficient vegetation to act as a buffer, rainwater runs off more quickly, contributing to flooding,” Maina said.

He further stated that informal settlements, which are common in the urban areas, often lack proper drainage systems, and added as a result, these areas are particularly susceptible to flooding during heavy rains, like the ongoing El Nino.

Changes in climate patterns, he said, including more frequent and higher intensity of rainfall, and improper disposal of solid waste, including plastics and other debris, can block drainage channels, leading to water accumulation in urban areas.

He said addressing flooding issues requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach involving urban planning, infrastructure development, environmental conservation, and community engagement, which are crucial steps toward mitigating the risk of flooding in urban areas.

Maina’s sentiments come on the backdrop of a tour of the ongoing construction of Kinuthia Mbugua stormwater drainage system by the Nakuru City management team to assess the extent of destruction following the recent heavy rains that has affected neighboring areas.

By Veronica Bosibori

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