Why MP wants building of Murang’a water tunnel stopped

Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi wants construction of the Northern Water Collector Tunnel stopped over an agency’s failure to supply water to the locals before connecting to Nairobi.

The MP said Athi Water Services Board had violated the directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta that it should first ensure that the locals are first connected.

The controversial Sh6.8 billion-tunnel is set to collect flood water from rivers Irati, Mathioya and Gikigie channelling it to Ndakaini dam which supplies water to Nairobi county.

Its construction came to public limelight in 2016 after opposition leader Raila Odinga raised alarm saying it would have devastating impact on the environment.

Describing the project as tunnel of death, Mr Odinga said seven counties would be turned to desert.

However, government officials rubbished Mr Odinga’s claims saying environmental assessment had been conducted and the World Bank-funded project given a clean bill of health.

After a series of meetings with officials from Ministry of Water to convince Murang’a leaders about the project, they (leaders) gave a condition to the government; give our residents water first before taking it to Nairobi.

“All leaders agreed with the government that locals will be prioritised in supply of water but they have ignored the agreement, they are now burying already connected pipes heading to Nairobi,” Mr Ngugi said adding that he would mobilise his constituents to oppose the project.

“This time round we mean what we say and we say what we mean. We can’t allow giving our water to Nairobi residents while ours are suffering due to water shortage, that is forcefully taking our only natural resource for free,” the MP said.

His sentiments were shared by Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria who said they will demand that the county also gets a percentage of the revenue from Murang’a water, just like Turkana residents are set to get a share from oil income.

“We want someone to explain to us how water is not a natural resource ,” the governor said.