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Panic as Nyandarua’s Karai water pan bursts after downpour

Wednesday September 4 2019

STEVE NJUGUNA
By STEVE NJUGUNA
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The national government is on the spot over shoddy construction works on a multimillion-shilling water pan that burst its banks on Tuesday evening at Gwa Kung’u, Nyandarua.

Fear and panic gripped residents of Mbuyu Sub-Location, after the newly-constructed Gwa Kung’u Karai water pan burst its banks following a heavy downpour.

The 100,000 cubic metres community water pan funded by the National Irrigation Board, was commissioned in April by Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri.

NO HARM

Fortunately, it drained its waters to an adjacent colonial check dam acting as a buffer and an outlet to the disastrous water, thus averting disaster.

According to the NIB's Head of Corporate Communication, Daniel M Nzonzo, the water pan is being constructed at a cost of Sh19 million.

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“The work is not yet complete and the contractor is still on site. NIB has not yet paid the contractor any money and therefore the effects of the damage caused by the excess water will be done under the existing contract,” said Mr Nzonzo.

He said NIB has already instructed the contractor to immediately conclude the pending works as well as rectify the damaged area to avoid recurrence of the same.

Scared residents of the semi-arid area have now cried foul after the bursting of the water pan that let go of their only hope. They depended on the water for irrigation and domestic use.

The residents accused the contractor of a shoddy job done on the water pan that was almost filled to capacity, saying repairs needed to be done before the end of the ongoing rains. 

“We are very lucky to be alive and also because of the fact that the dam burst at night and the water was collected by the colonial check dam. We thank God that the bursting was not disastrous,” said Ms Margaret Wairimu, an area resident.

The residents have since demanded for the arrest and the prosecution of the contractor and engineer who were awarded the tender.

“We are wondering if there were engineers on the site when all this shoddy work was being done. We want the government to take action against the contractor for carrying out a shoddy work and endangering people’s lives,” said Dr Simon Kanyingi, a local leader.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

They have also pointed fingers on the government for failing to ascertain if the water pan structure had met all regulatory requirements.

“It is a pity that when the dam was under construction, tussles emerged between the County and National government leaders on who lobbied for its funding yet no one has come to check on the current situation,” noted Dr Kanyingi.

Mr Peter Karanja, a resident accused the National Irrigation Board for not seeking the residents’ opinion before putting up the project.

“The government should have given us tanks to harvest water at the household level instead of wasting its money on unscrupulous individuals.

“Why did they construct a new dam next to another that has served us for decades, why didn’t they renovate and expand it at a much lower prize” said Mr Karanja.

Nyandarua County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich, while noting that the contractor will be recalled for repair works, warned contractors against doing shoddy jobs saying they risked people’s lives.

When he commissioned the water pan, CS Kiunjuri had said that it was set to supply water to over 200 households after its completion and also help boast farming in the constituency which was in line with the government Big Four agendas in the food security sector.