Counties

Acute water shortage hits giant Mwea rice scheme

mwea

A combine-harvester harvests rice at Mwea irrigation Scheme. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • An acute water shortage has hit the giant Mwea Rice Irrigation Scheme in Kirinyaga county following a prolonged dry spell.
  • Consequently, farmers are worried that they may post low harvests this season.
  • The scheme's Water Users Association chairman Mauricius Mutugi termed the situation as serious, noting that the irrigation water had dropped 50 percent.

An acute water shortage has hit the giant Mwea Rice Irrigation Scheme in Kirinyaga county following a prolonged dry spell.

Consequently, farmers are worried that they may post low harvests this season.

" Water is now a scarce commodity and we may suffer," Mr Simon Njogu, a farmer said.

The scheme's Water Users Association chairman Mauricius Mutugi termed the situation as serious, noting that the irrigation water had dropped 50 percent.

He added that water levels in major rivers which supply water for irrigation to the Scheme have gone down.

Water usually flows at 8.4 cubic metres per second in a normal situation. Currently, it is flowing at 4.2 cubic metres per second, which is not sufficient to irrigate the crop which falls under 22,000 acres of land.

However, Mr Mutugi explained that the association will soon hold a meeting with Water Resources Management and the Kirinyaga County government to discuss water rationing to save the crop from drying up.

"Only rationing of the commodity can be the solution to the water crisis in the Scheme," he said.

Mr Mutugi observed that farmers were dependent on rice for survival and they must be assisted.

"We are strictly monitoring the situation and very soon rationing of the commodity will kick off to ensure there will be no crop failure in the scheme which is the country's rice granary," said Mr Mutugi.

The chairman told farmers to cooperate when the rationing exercise starts.

Mwea rice scheme produces 80 percent of rice consumed in Kenya.