Kajiado taps spring water from SGR tunnel

Embulbul-Kimuka tunnel
Embulbul-Kimuka tunnel. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Residents of Kajiado West are set to benefit from clean water that has been oozing out of the Standard Gauge Railways tunnel in Ngong since construction work began on the hilly landscape outside Nairobi.

China Road and Bridge Corporation, the company building the railway, discovered the natural water source with a capacity of 1700 cubic meters per hour while constructing the 4.5 kilometre tunnel at Kimuka area of Ngong.

The water, which began oozing from an underground aquifer three months ago, has already formed a stream stretching 100 kms downstream.

Water experts have tested and found it fit for human consumption.

The Chinese firm has since been working with local communities to tap the fresh water and channel it for use by 2,500 families in Kajiado County where access to clean water stands at 35 per cent.

Plans are also under way to use the water for irrigation and improve food production in the area.

The water has been found to have the capacity to service 10,000 cattle besides farming.

The Kajiado community, which has traditionally relied on donkeys to fetch water for household needs, has welcomed the plan as offering big relief and potentially improving health and nutrition in the area.

"We are optimistic that this water will aid us for both domestic use and hopefully small-scale farming. Water scarcity has over the years adversely affected households and we are forced to share unclean dam water with our livestock and wild animals," said Philip Lankas, a local community leader.

The deputy general manager of Embulbul-Kimuka tunnel, Guo Qing, said that if properly channelled and used, the water offers a huge opportunity to improve the quality of life in the area.

Joseph Lenku, the Kajiado governor, warned residents against illegal diversion of the water to their farms, saying distribution of the resource must be systematic and orderly to ensure equity and maximum utilisation.

The water has already been directed to the Oloshoibor mega dam for distribution and local consumption.

Plans are under way to build livestock troughs along the new water channel.

The water will be collected and treated in two tanks of 1.6 million litres before release to the community for use.

The water flowing in a course towards the ASAL Magadi region is expected to save locals millions of shillings that currently goes into buying water.