Water supply queries arise in Murang’a tunnel project

Tuesday February 13 2018

Northern Water Collector Tunnel

Northern Water Collector Tunnel in Murang'a County which is intended to supply water to Nairobi. Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi wants construction of the tunnel stopped for failure by Athi Water Services Board to supply the commodity to locals before releasing it to Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NDUNG’U GACHANE
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Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi wants construction of the Northern Water Collector Tunnel stopped over what he termed as failure by Athi Water Services Board to supply the commodity to locals before releasing it to Nairobi.

The MP said the board has violated a directive by President Kenyatta that it should first ensure that the locals are connected with water before commencing connections to Nairobi.

The controversial Sh6.8 billion tunnel is set to collect flood waters from rivers Irati, Mathioya and Gikigie aimed at boosting water from Ndakaini Dam which supplies the capital.

RAILA RAISES ALARM

Despite work having started in 2015, the construction came in public limelight in 2016 after Opposition leader Raila Odinga raised the alarm on the project saying that it would have a devastating impact on the environment.

While describing the project as “tunnel of death”, Mr Odinga said seven counties would be turned to deserts.

However, government officials rubbished Mr Odinga’s claims saying an environmental assessment had been conducted and given the World Bank funded project a clean bill of health.

After a series of meetings with officials from the Ministry of Water to convince Murang’a leaders about the project, they gave a condition to the government; “give our residents water first before taking it to Nairobi.”

UHURU'S PROMISE

The MP says despite the promise by the Head of State, workers have continued connecting pipes supplying Nairobi after completion of a treatment plant.

“All leaders agreed with the government that locals will be prioritized in supply of water but they have ignored the agreement, they are now burying already connected pipes heading to Nairobi,” Mr Ngugi said adding that he would mobilize his constituents to oppose the project.

“This time round we mean what we say and we say what we mean. We can’t allow giving our water to Nairobi residents while our residents are suffering due to water shortage, that is forcefully taking our only natural resource for free,” the MP said.

His sentiments were shared by Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria who said in the same way Turkana residents get a share from oil, they will demand a percentage of the revenue from the water.

“We want someone to explain to us how water is not a natural resource just like the oil in Turkana, we are going to argue principally so that we get what is rightfully ours,” Mr Wa Iria said.