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Ending city’s water rows | Nation



Ending city’s water rows | Nation

The other day, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja appeared before a Senate committee to answer questions raised by Nyandarua County over Sasumua Dam. But the issue, over the water that Nairobi City County has drawn from the dam for years, should not be contentious.

Water is a natural resource and no entity can claim it fully. Water sources in Kenya are under the mandate of the Water Resources Management Authority (Warma). Compensation should not be an issue as the water can be shared, with concrete agreements. 

Natural resources like water and others could be the trigger that will make the world go to war again. We saw the row over the Gerd in Ethiopia, where Egypt, Sudan and other countries downstream of the River Nile were beating the war drums. 

But I digress. The issue of Nairobi and the sources of its water should be looked at from the perspective of what was initially agreed on. The then-Nairobi City Council didn’t wake up one morning and decided to source water from Nyandarua and Murang’a. 

The capital has been substantially invested in Sasumua Dam, Ngethu Water Works and Ndakaini Dam. One only has to visit the sites and appreciate the effort.

The counties should, through Warma and the Athi Water Works Development Agency, agree on the amount of water to be shared and the environmental improvement around the water sources. 

Trees should be planted in plenty around the dams. Ndakaini and Sasumua could benefit a lot from intense tree planting. The same goes for the catchment areas, from where the streams and rivers which feed these dams originate. More trees mean more water going into the dams. Other counties will then comfortably share ‘their’ water with Nairobi. 

The economic angle taken by the counties where Nairobi draws its water from should not be applied. Supplying those near the dam while the water also flows to Nairobi will be more beneficial to Kenyans.

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