The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership Executive Committee called for an urgent meeting to address the water crisis in the upper basin
The crisis, a result of a GOK directive to revoke all water intake permits, is the subject of great debate in the basin. Following the directive, all abstractions from Mt. Kenya Rivers have been suspended with the exception of Nanyuki Water and Sewerage Company (NAWASCO) and water service providers linked to municipalities.
In the meeting, the executive committee acknowledged the implications of the directive and the severity of the situation to water users, especially those living in rural communities.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, the MKEWP Coordinator, Mr. Stanley Kirimi, said that the Partnership supported the Government’s directive. “It is long overdue, there should be sanity and order in how we manage our natural resources. Mt. Kenya is a critical catchment for millions of people, their livestock and livelihoods.”
The Partnership includes over 30,000 households that have raised the alarm on how the directive has been executed. “We support the directive, but our members and water users with valid permits are being harassed,” reads part of the statement.
Officers executing the directive have been urged to request for permits from water users before taking any action. “It is important they ask for these documents, to separate those with legal permits from those without valid documents,” said Mr, Kirimi, adding, “The cost of building these intakes is very high, and destroying those with valid permits is a retrogressive move.”
Water users have been encouraged to operate within the law. “We would like to tell our members to ensure that they have valid permits to present when requested by officers of the Government.”
“We all want swift, sustainable solutions to this crisis, because water is an essential resource for all,” the coordinator told the media. Indeed, schools, clinics and thousands of homes supported by community water projects have been affected by the recent directive.
As part of its action plan on the Mt. Kenya water crisis, MKEWP is helping with advocacy that will be addressed to the Government’s Inter-Ministerial Committee formed to look at the water allocation in the region.
The efforts will highlight crucial issues that the Committee should consider when addressing sustainable solutions.