BY COAST CORRESPONDENT
The perennial water problem that troubles Garissa County will be a thing of the past if the ongoing construct of an earth fill dam water pan at Bura Galmagala of Fafi Constituency is completed by the end of year.
Through the Coast Development Authority (CDA), the government has pumped up Sh142 million towards achieving lasting solution for the water problem that has bedeviled the area for decades.
This project is expected to cushion over 6,900 households that currently are forced to walk for 110 kilometres to access water for their human and animal consumption. It will also be used for irrigation on small-scale farming.
The water pan has a capacity of harvesting 350,000 cubic metres of rain water annually.
CDA managing director Dr Mohamed Keinan, speaking at the project site, terms the project a game changer in resolving the perennial water shortage that has beleaguered the region.
“This dam will mitigate the effect of drought facing this region. As CDA, we had to make an emergency decision because this is the only source of water to serve the entire community including schools,” he says.
According to him the purpose of small holders’ irrigation farming is not only to achieve the food security of the area inhabitants but also cater for their animals.
From the engineers’ report, the dam is 30 percent complete, and when complete it will have sufficient water to supply the entire population’s needs.
Sasa Abdulahi, a local resident, welcomed the project saying it will positively relieve them from the burden of walking long distances to look for water. She is worried the little water they get from the other sources is also not clean or safe for drinking.
“We are happy because this big project will save us from suffering water borne related diseases. The water we use is not safe for drinking because we share it with domestic animals,” she adds.
Yusuf Omar Abdi, area member of the county assembly (MCA) alleges since independence, the residents have only depended on rainy water which is trapped in water pans most of which is not sufficient.
“Most of us lead migratory lives in search of water. At times, our pastoralists walk for about 500 kilometers from here with their cattle because of drought in search of the same. We are happy as residents because this project will bring water to our doorstep,” he says.
Titus Mbogo, Bura Subcounty assistant county commissioner, underscores the need to fast track the water project before the rainy season kicks off later this year.
Alternatively, the residents have also depended on water tankers which have proven to be expensive.
He calls on other players to join hands with the government and do whatever is necessary to save the communities from drought effects.
“The short-term solution is to bring water with trucks which will cost not less than Sh100, 000 per truck,” he adds.
Instead of residents going to the project water pan when complete, the residents want the government to invest money for piping and pumping the water to other regions around there to save hundreds of other people bearing the brunt of drought and famine.
Edited by Mwakera Mwajefa