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Residents want Sh400million water project investigated

Residents of Ngoliba Ward, Thika East Sub County have protested over perennial water shortage, despite a Sh400million government-funded water project that stalled years ago.
The residents are forced to depend on the heavily polluted Thika and Athi Rivers for water putting them to serious health risks.
Only last week, a hippo, and hundreds of fish and frogs died in Thika River due to heavy pollution from the many industries in Thika town. The Athi River feeds from the Nairobi River, making it unsafe for residents.
Eunice Njeri, 60, has to walk for four kilometers each day to the hippo infested rivers to fetch a 20 litres jerrican of water which is not enough for her family.
She is lucky since most of her age mates cannot climb the steep valleys with water containers on their back, and are forced to part with Sh25 for the same container.
At the nearby Ngoliba market, hoteliers are forced to use the contaminated water to cook and for their clients to quench their thirst, posing health risk to their customers.
“We always frequent hospitals due to water borne diseases. We have to use what we have, as we have been neglected,” said Waweru Gitau, another resident.
They have tried digging water pans to savage the situation, but they all dried up three weeks after the rainy season.
Total crop failure is also evident in their farms, as they narrated how they have recorded zero harvests in the last decade.
James Kamau, Chairman of the Ngoliba Farmers Association said they require government interventions in providing them with relief food.
He said had the region been prioritized with water provision, it could produce enough to feed even their neighbours in Machakos County.
“We have expansive pieces of land, and fertile soil. If that water project had been fully implemented, we would be food and water sufficient. Food and horticultural crops can do well in the area,” he said.
Gitau called on the county leadership to work with the government to ensure the water project spreads to all the corners of the area.
“We also need the project investigated to establish where the Sh400million went to and those found culpable held accountable. Theft of public funds is the source of our woes,” said Gitau.
Only less than 10,000 residents from a possible 30,000 have benefitted from the Ndumago water project that was initiated by the National Irrigations Board in 2015, and was due for completion a year later.
It was revived with close to Sh30million late 2018 and was meant to benefit Ndula and Magogoni residents who have since started irrigation and are now food sufficient.
By Muoki Charles

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