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West Pokot peace dam to be completed this month

West Pokot residents are elated with the looming completion of a multimillion Kasses Peace Dam in Pokot North Sub County whose construction commenced in July last year.

Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency (CRVWWDA) Resident Engineer Allan Sogomo told the County Development and Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) during the field inspection of the Sh250 million earth dam that completion works stand at 97 per cent with only five days of the contract period having elapsed by Thursday May 6, 2021.

Sogomo said the dam, once completed within this month, will harvest around 1.2 million cubic meters of water that will alleviate the residents’ suffering from the issue of water scarcity for their animals which has been forcing many herders to cross over to Uganda looking for the precious commodity.

“The contractor has completed the excavations and erecting a barrier wall. Fencing of the dam is also almost complete and within this month all works shall be concluded. Once the dam fills up the project will be ready for handing over. We shall not request for contract extension time,” said the engineer.

The CDICC team led by West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello challenged the area residents to own the project once handing over is done.

West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello (left) and Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency Resident Engineer Allan Sogomo at Kasses Peace Dam on. Photo by Richard Muhambe

Okello said the dam was a community project even though it has been built by the government as part of its goodwill to the area residents who have been grieving for lack of water for their livestock thus endangering a peaceful co-existence.

“Take good care of the dam by protecting it against vandalism. There is a section for water troughs where your animals will be drinking from hence the need to maintain the  fence, Let us curb any intrusion into the dam,” advised the CC.

He called on the contractor to expedite their Community Social Responsibility (CSR) projects which include drilling of boreholes for residents to have access to clean drinking water, provision of water tanks to neighbouring schools together with training selected youth in plant operations.

“Let us consider providing water tanks with a huge capacity to enable the identified schools to harvest enough rain water,” added Okello.

He advised the area residents to form development committees that will enhance their discussions on how to add value to the project so as to reap more benefits.

“You can decide to practice fish farming in the dam as part of improving the ecosystem and food production. Don’t imagine that since the project was built by the government, you have no stake in it,” he reiterated.

He added that the dam will enhance peace in the region since initially residents used to clash owing to the scramble for water and pasture for their livestock.

He said once the dam is operationalized, an estimated 10,000 animals owned by herders some of whom moved to Uganda will return.

“The construction of the dam doesn’t mean the government wants to restrict movement of people into and out of the country. It is part of the initiative to enhance peace and strengthen the East African Community,” stated the CC.

Residents have lauded the government for initiating the project in the area saying it will tremendously transform their livelihoods.

They said since their major source of income is pastoralism, the dam will help stock more animals for posterity even during severe droughts in the area.

By Richard Muhambe

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