Members of the county assembly have threatened to take legal action over the destruction of water intakes in the Mt Kenya and Imenti forests.
Speaking at a press conference in Meru on Monday, the MCAs criticised the Water Resources Management Authority (Warma) and the Kenya Forest Service, saying their actions would affect the economic growth of the county as most farmers got water for irrigation from the forest.
In a joint statement read by Abogeta West MCA Dennis Kiogora, the leaders also accused Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko and his Water ministry counterpart, Simon Chelugui, of failing to engage the public before disconnecting water from the streams from the forests.
“The approach they are currently using is very wrong. They should have at least involved the public before embarking on wanton destruction of water projects,” said Mr Kiogora.
The leaders said they would sue Warma and KFS for targeting the projects despite the fact that residents had water abstraction licences.
“Failure to reconnect the water...we are going to sue Warma and KFS because they are the ones who licensed people to have water intakes in the forests. Why should they damage the same intakes they authorised?” said Kiogora.
Nkuene MCA Martin Makasi said the Government had failed its people and called for a crisis meeting of elected leaders from the region and the ministry officials.
“We voted for the Government so that it can support the taxpayers. We thought they would construct dams to replace the water intakes, but not destroy the intakes before constructing dams.
"The Government should understand the concept of public participation in implementation of various initiatives. Some of these projects have cost farmers millions of shillings. Now we are likely to witness starvation of animals and people due to lack of water,” Mr Makasi said.
Among the major water projects affected is the Sh100 million Mt Kenya East Water Project, which was funded by the Canadian Government.
The project serves Abogeta West and Igoji West wards.
Imenti South MP Kathuri Murungi has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to stop the destruction of the water intakes.
“We really need a candid discussion and the rationale for this action. If their mission succeeds, then people living upstream will never get water. I suggest that further destruction of intakes stop to give dialogue a chance. The President should also come to the rescue of his people,” Mr Murungi said.