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NEMA says no to water pans, wants boreholes instead 

NEMA chairman John Konchella planting a tree with the help of residents at Entarara forest where 10, 000 seedlings were planted. Photo/ Albert Lemomo

Boreholes are cost-effective and easy to be managed by the community, says environmental agency 

By Albert Lemomo  

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is set to overhaul entire water development projects in Kajiado South and West subcounties in bid to tame the effects of climate change.  

The change follows  visits to two dams that had been constructed at a cost of Ksh12 million at Imbirikani and Kimana wards by NEMA Chairman John Konchela and National Coordinator for Adaptation Fund Program Wangari Kirumba. 

It is discouraging that as an Authority, we set aside Kshmillion through KEFRI as the executing entity to construct water pans. The people of those areas were in dire need of dams, which were constructed but not to the standard that we wanted considering the funds allocated to the project. The dams lack pipes to take the water to the water troughs, where livestock would drink from. They also don’t have proper channels to curb siltation, which is a major hindrance for the lifespan of a water project. The contractors should go back to their workstations and complete the works. The construction of these pans is no longer viable as it is expensive to keep repairing the siltation channels as well as the pans themselves. We are going to be drilling boreholes as they are more costeffective and easy to be managed by the community,” The NEMA chair told KNA at Imbirikani. 

Ms Kirumba echoed the sentiments of his chairman, stating that the drilling of boreholes would be more effective and will benefit both the residents and their livestock. It iparamount that we change tack and construct boreholes across the 14 counties which are normally affected by drought. We will only need solar energy, and then the community will design the way to distribute the water, so that they can produce farm products. This will go a long way in supporting the country to achieve one of its Big Four Agenda, food security.”  

Furthermore, NEMA and the County Government of Kajiado have forged ties to increase efforts to reclaim and increase forest cover in the county to meet the set national target of 10 per cent forest cover by 2022, as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

Konchela said the efforts between the two entities aim to restore the dignity of all water towers in the country and enable it to avert frequent hunger and unnecessary deaths as a result of flash floods. The issue of reclaiming and restoring our forests is not only our primary mandate, but mandate of the entire government. That is why we are planning to plant at least 47 million trees by January in all counties. We have already planted 10, 000 tree seedlings here at Entarara forest in this subcountyin order to ensure that we restore our lands.” 

Kajiado CECM for Water, Irrigation and Environment Michael Semera vowed to reclaim 42 acres of land within the Entarara forest that had been acquired illegally. We are in the process of profiling everybody who has invaded this forest, because we have almost 42 acres of land that is being used as agricultural land yet it is within the forest. It is only a matter of time; we are going to bring our enforcement officers and eject them out and construct a perimeter fence around the entire forest to ensure not a single acre of the land would be lost.”  

During the tree planting exercise, NEMA pledged to give the community living around the forest 20 beehives as a way of appreciating their efforts of reclaiming the land. They will use the beehives to harvest honey for either commercial sale or domestic use. 

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