Human activities blamed for water scarcity

August 21, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 21 – Environment Permanent Secretary James Ole Kiyiapi has blamed the current low levels of water in dams to human activities on the upper catchment areas.

In an interview with Capital News on Thursday, Ole Kiyiapi said land degradation especially in the major water towers had led to water loss in the form of run-off, especially when it rains.

He added that the dams were also being affected by soil erosion, which caused siltation and lowered the amount of water that could be stored in the dam.

“Run off simply means that we are not able to get water to get into the ground for what we call ground water recharge,” explained the PS.

“So we can have a lot of rain in this country for like three months continuously and we can have water all over the place but exactly three months later we have no water.”

He termed this as a serious problem because if the water did not go underground as soon as it stopped raining we would run short of the liquid.

Ole Kiyiapi suggested a sustainable water harvesting practice from the household level.

“We should now very seriously put a policy whereby any person building a house must give a provision for some huge underground tanks so that you can collect all the water from the roof when it rains,” advised the PS.

He added: “Even if it is what we call grey water and you have to use it for watering your flowers or washing clothes, you will minimise the fresh water that you will have to use.”

“And let’s not think that we can continue digging boreholes because even those are drying up.” 

Water Minister Charity Ngilu has said that the Ministry was in the process of coming up with a storage policy for both domestic and irrigation purposes.

“Now we are coming up with this policy of major storage because there is always one thing that has surprised Kenyans; that every now and then we are having this water rationing because the rains were not adequate, and yet we see lots of water going down when it rains.”

The Ndakaini dam, which is Nairobi’s main water source, is currently losing four centimetres of water level everyday and Nairobi residents have been warned that they may only have water up to March next year, if the expected October short rains fail.

The dam that only used to provide water for Nairobi during emergencies has been in use since October last year to supplement water from the River Chania, which has begun drying out.



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