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10,000 families in Kirinyaga thirsty as water project collapses

By Munene Kamau | February 11th 2015
A Kirinyaga County resident points at one of the three dilapidated reservoirs of Riamiatu water project. The Sh40 million project has been run down after technicians from the Tana and Athi Services Board were driven away some three years ago. [PHOTO: MUNENE KAMAU/STANDARD]

A multi-million shillings donor-funded water project in Kirinyaga County has collapsed due to alleged mismanagement and political patronage.

Over 10,000 households that were targeted will hence miss out on the expected benefits.

Riamiatu water project was established 10 years ago in Kirinyaga East Sub-county at a cost of Sh40 million but has come to naught.

Initially managed by professionals from the Tana and Athi Water Services Board, the project did well until three years ago when the technicians were kicked out.

It was claimed that a certain political clique from the area interfered by planting its supporters in the project and ejecting out the professionals who had been seconded there by the board.

''I have read the constitution and I have not come across any chapter that says those to manage water projects should be literate,'' an area politician was reported to have told the project members leading to the kicking out of the board staffers.

The project with three reservoirs with a capacity of 100,000 litres each at Kiangombe , Kiangothe and Gatunguru villages is now a pale shadow of its former self.

No water has  been stored in the reservoirs for the last three years leading to dilapidation of the crucial storage facilities, according to water systems experts.
''If a reservoir does not get any water to store for long, it will certainly start to get dilapidated ,'' says Moses M'Naivasha, the Tana and Athi Water Services Board Chief Executive Officer.

Mr M'Naivasha also confirmed staffers he had seconded to the project were unceremoniously ejected and left with various equipment.
He said those who took over were persons not even recognised by the board and warned that in the event of any shortcoming, the consumers would be the losers.

''We have time and again asked them to submit their professionals certificates and as required but none of them has complied,'' he said.

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