TWDA raises concern over wayleaves, climate change

Tana Water Development Agency CEO Phillip Gichuki at a project site along river Nyagithuci, Kirinyaga County. [Courtesy]

Wayleaves and climate change have been identified as the key challenges facing the government in providing clean water and sanitation services for residents in Mt Kenya region.

Speaking during a media engagement forum in Nyeri County, Tana Water Development Agency CEO Phillip Gichuki said efforts to set up clean water infrastructure in Embu, Kirinyaga Meru, Nyeri and Tharaka Nithi counties were being hampered by high charges on land earmarked for development projects.

Gichuki observed the agency has limited resources to carry out the projects and relies heavily on donor funding to carry out some of the key installations in the five counties.

“The project budgets costs are extremely high due to the prices being demanded by landowners, we are all Kenyans and should be considerate when offering resources for development,” Gichuki said.

According to the TWDA boss, the agency has noted dwindling water levels in key rivers due to climate change and was implementing innovative efforts to safeguard water catchment areas.

“We have noted the changes in our rivers due to climate change and one example of this is the South Maara River in Tharaka Nithi which was earmarked to provide water to Chuka town. TWDA is seeking partnerships to support us in protecting the water catchment areas of Mt Kenya, Aberdares and Meru that we rely on for our water resource,” added Gichuki.

TWDA Corporate Communications manager Beato Migwi said the agency has also embarked on tree-planting efforts to boost forest cover and protect the catchment areas.

“We have planted 58,000 trees in the last two years and in 2022, we intend to plant an additional 20,000 trees,” he said.

During the engagement, the agency announced they had a total of 188 projects, with 103 completed between 2013 and 2022.

The 103 projects cost Sh3.7 billion, according to Migwi, and serve 697,687 people. 58 ongoing projects total Sh5.4 billion with 27 planned projects yet to be started.

Tharaka Nithi and Embu Counties have the highest number of projects, 47 and 45, respectively, in various stages of implementation. Meru County has 35, while Nyeri and Kirinyaga counties have 36 and 26, respectively.