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In Kenya Authorities allays fears of ecological impact of World Bank project

Eugene Wamalwa spoke in Nairobi during a national consultative forum on Monday, saying measures had been put in place

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Eugene Wamalwa

(Zipo)

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Kenyan officials on Monday said a World Bank-funded water project under in central county of Murang’a would not affect the ecological health of the expansive Tana Delta.

Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa who spoke in Nairobi during a national consultative forum on Monday, said measures had been put in place.

“The measures would ensure that the 60 million dollars water project does not jeopardise the livelihoods of downstream communities along the Tana basin.

“We have conducted rigorous feasibility studies to ensure the northern collector water tunnel does not trigger adverse environmental impacts in the larger Tana basin’’, said Wamalwa.

He said the 11.5-kilometer water tunnel was expected to boost supply of the commodity to Nairobi and its satellite towns.

Wamalwa said contractors adhered to environmental safety guidelines to implement the project expected to boost water supply in Nairobi by 140,000 cubic meters daily.

The implementation of the project had been marked by controversies over its likely impact on domestic water supply, irrigation and hydropower along the Tana basin.

Ex-Prime Minister Raila Odinga last week warned that the project could have devastating ecological impacts in five counties sharing the Tana basin.

He urged the government to halt implementation of the project until a scientific assessment was carried out to reassure the public it posed minimal environmental threat.

But Wamalwa insisted the government adhered to international best practices before it approved the implementation of the project.

“There is nothing sinister about the northern collector water tunnel project.

“State agencies have engaged all stakeholders in the conception, design and execution of this project to minimise any negative impact to the environment or livelihoods’’, said Wamalwa.

He disclosed that the project will utilise about one percent of water in the Tana delta.

The project would tap water from three rivers that form part of the larger Tana basin. It would pump water into Ndakaini Dam.

Ndakaini Dam supplies 80 per cent of the commodity to Nairobi and its burgeoning satellite towns.

Malaquen Milgo, CEO of Athi Water Services Board that is implementing the project, said it would only collect storm waters from the three rivers and will not interfere with their flow.

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