Nairobi, KENYA: Governors from Mt Kenya have condemned the actions of the Ministry of Water and Environment terming it as an illegal act of disconnecting water pipes from the water sources within the counties.
Speaking to journalists on Monday in Nairobi the governors lead by their chair Francis Kimemia of Nyandarua county, said the move is illegal since no governor was consulted over the issue by the government.
Giving her view, Kirinyaga governor Ann Waiguru threatened to lead efforts in reconnecting water intakes if their plea for reconnection is not heard and determined.
Abstractions were suspended on August 24 to allow for an audit and eliminate illegal abstractions lowering river levels.
The governors argue that the indiscriminate destruction had targeted both legal and illegal intakes, leading to an acute shortage of the water that has affected Embu, Meru, Tharaka-Nithi, Nyeri, Nyandarua and Kirinyaga counties.
On Monday, governors Muthomi Njuki( Tharaka-Nithi), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) and Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) said had left dry taps in schools and hospitals.
“We are not interested in long court battles with the ministries under the national government. We want an immediate solution because not all the intakes are illegal. Some of our people had acquired licenses to draw water for domestic use. Now even hospitals and schools do not have water,” Governor Waiguru stated.
Tharaka-Nithi county boss Njuki complained the water abstraction had negatively affected crucial services as no temporary solution had been provided as the State audited permits.
” We had rather reconnect those water intakes and we are taken to court. Our people are suffering because the same government that licensed water abstractions has gone ahead to destroy intakes without prior consultation,” he said.
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko and his Water counterpart Simon Chelugui suspended the abstractions saying despite the country receiving heavy rains in April, May, and June, several key rivers are already experiencing low flows.
CS Tobiko visited Mt Kenya Water Tower on August 18 to establish whether the cause of low flows is due to catchment destruction and established there was no logging and the forest cover is well-maintained, thus the low flow was not due to forest degradation.
On his part, CS Chelugui conducted a rapid field investigation on the upper reaches of River Sagana and Thegu River, whose source is Mt Kenya Water Tower on August 21.
Governor Kimemia said they had been invited to a meeting on Tuesday over the issue.