The government has earmarked plans to de-silt the Mukurweini dam in Muthengera, Laikipia west Sub-County that is expected to serve over 4, 500 households.
According to Area Deputy County Commissioner Ndambuki Muthike, the move will see the colonial dam that is in a filthy state fenced, installed with solar panels and pipes laid for water distribution.
Earlier on, residents in the area had expressed displeasure after solar panels started being erected noting that public participation was not conducted and there was no way water distribution could be commenced with the dam’s current state.
The residents had also expressed fear of the dam breaking its banks, but on a visit to the dam, the DCC assured the residents that the government was involving all the stakeholders to ensure the risks are contained.
“We are here to engage the residents because this water project is theirs. They were charged but we have been able to cool them down and engage them. We have talked to them about the importance of this project being done by the national government,” he said.
“They were saying that they were not fully involved and we shall continue to engage them and let them own the project. This is the first phase and other subsequent phases will come. We have decided water troughs will be built for livestock and a proper bridge put up for ease of crossing especially to school children,” said the DCC.
On his part, the Sub-county administrator Charles Ndegwa applauded the residents for calling for public participation.
He said that Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu has promised to come with surveyors to establish the actual acreage and put up beacons to weed out the dam encroachers to ensure the project, once completed, would be sustainable.
The cries of the residents caught the attention of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights crusaders who said that they had already written to the Central Rift Water Works Agency calling for immediate action noting that the rights of the residents had been overlooked.
Central Rift Water Works Agency Engineer John Kutol said that they were going to conduct public participation in every stage of the water project to ensure there is openness and fairness in water resources and distribution.
“We are planning to start the de-silting of the dam. The dam is not privatized. It is a colonial dam and therefore it is a public utility. The survey will be done by the county government. The earlier the survey, the earlier the de-silting and other projects on this dam will follow. We are at phase one and we can only plan on the budget after de-silting because we shall know the capacity of the dam,” said Engineer Kutol.
He said that once completed, the project will be handed to the county government that will decide the sharing of the water and other resources.
The dam serves the residents of Karandi, Tandare and Kianugu areas of Laikipia County and some parts of Baringo County.
By Antony Mwangi