Authority sets water rationing formula for Mwea rice farmers

Dry canal at Mwea irrigation scheme. [Timothy Kariuki, Standard]

With the continued drought that has led to water shortage, the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has come up with a formula that will ensure fair and equitable distribution of water at the Mwea irrigation scheme.

Mwea Irrigation Scheme manager Mr Innocent Ariemba said the rice basket will use water for three days; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

“On the fourth day (Sunday), the water will be allowed to flow downstream while on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the water will be used by the people who are upstream,” he said.

“The rationing is meant to ensure the residents get to share the little water in various units in the scheme,” he said.

He said they had come up with measures to ensure residents will access water fairly and without discrimination as they expect rainfall from the end of this month.

“We are, however, hopeful that the issue of water rationing during the drought season will soon be a thing of the past, with the completion of Thiba dam,” he said.

Mr Ariemba said Thiba dam will start filling in water in the coming rainy season, and the use of the dam water is expected to double the production of rice.
The scheme manager has called upon farmers to work with the formula to ensure smooth running of affairs as they wait for rains.

One of the residents Kenneth Muriithi said for the last one month they struggled to get drinking water, while some lost cows and goats.

“We rely on water from rice canals which is contaminated. We fear there might be an outbreak of water-borne diseases such as bilharzia and cholera,” he said.