Sh6.8bn water project may be ‘white elephant’
‘There is no way the river can be in perpetual mode to fill the dam unless there are reservoirs set up around it’
MPs yesterday disputed the sustainability of the controversial Sh6.8 billion Northern Water Collector Tunnel project, saying taxpayers’ money could go to waste.
The National Assembly Committee on Environment and Natural Resources chaired by Amina Abdalla put to task Water CS Eugene Wamalwa.
He was with ministry officials and Athi Water Services Board CEO Malaquen Milgo.
They were asked to identify the tunnel’s long-term water source, saying it should not rely on seasonal river flooding and overflow.
The MPs said the tunnel that solely depends on flooding will be dry and unproductive during dry seasons.
The Jubilee administration project aims to supply water to Nairobi and the capital region.
It was first mentioned in a master plan when opposition chief Raila Odinga was Prime Minister. A feasibility study was called for. Raila now calls it “tunnels of death”.
The committee warned that the attempt to tap water from the Margua, Irati and Gikigie rivers could make parts of Murang’a county dry.
Emuhaya MP Wilbur Otichilo said, “We are building a white elephant by depending on river overflows to fill the tunnel. There is no way the river can be in perpetual mode to fill the dam unless there are reservoirs set up around it.
“The ministry should explain the designed water supply system.”
Milgo said, “We are not building a white elephant. We are targeting flooding. We have data and know the volume of water the rivers hold under normal flow.”
He said 40 per cent of flooding would be drained into the dam. The reserved water would then be poured into Ndakaini dam after the flooding and supplied to Nairobi.
Abdalla demanded Wamalwa furnish the committee with satisfactory environmental impact mitigation on the project after it emerged his submission contained contradictory findings.
Water CS Eugene Wamalwa before the National Assembly Environment Committee probing the Northern Water Collector Tunnel project yesterday