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Residents in court to block KES 5.5M water project

20 August 2015, 10:40 Obare Nyamota

Nakuru - A section of Maji Mazuri residents in Eldama Ravine have moved to court seeking an injunction to stop the KES 5.5 billion Chemususu dam water distribution project.

In a petition filed in the Nakuru High court, the residents from Maji Mazuri centre, Kisanana, Majimoto, Noiwet, Muserechi, Nakurtakwe and Torongo villages claim the project has excluded them from the water distribution network and design of the Dam.

The residents have sued the Attorney General and Rift Valley Water Services Board claiming that their fundamental rights and freedoms have been trampled on.

On Wednesday, High court judge Maureen Odera gave a green light to the case when she certified the matter as urgent and ordered parties in the case to serve each other with relevant papers.

The petitioners, represented by lawyer Steve Kabita, further claimed that the respondents failed to publish the water supply distribution network and design in public media including their website, denying them access to crucial information.

Read Also: Access to clean water still a mirage in Kenyan slums

“The petitioners have been denied public participation and hearing in a matter adversely affecting their economic and social rights - a right to clean and safe water,” reads part of the petition.

In an affidavit sworn by 32-year-old Amos Lumet Kimosop, the petitioners claim that currently the Rift Valley Water Services has cleared tendering process for water distribution and intends to start and implement the works without including them.

Their lawyer, Kabita averred that the residents will suffer irreparable harm if the project is not halted to allow their inclusion.

The Multi-billion-shilling water distribution project could therefore grind to a halt if the suit by the residents sails through.

Kimosop’s suit seeks to obtain conservatory orders blocking commencement of the water distribution project pending hearing and determination of the matter.

They also want the court to compel RVWSB to include them in the water distribution network and design of the dam.

Construction of the dam set to serve Baringo and Nakuru counties began on July 15, 2009 in Eldama Ravine by Flabo Contractors.

The 45 metres high dam with capacity of holding 12 million cubic metres of water is expected to benefit more than 600 000 residents through various projects that include piped water supply, fishing, irrigation and energy production.

Perkerra irrigation scheme in Marigat is among the expected beneficiaries of the project.

The completion of the project will also see the birth of four other projects at a cost of KES 40 million in a bid to help the residents of the arid and semi-arid county enjoy a reliable supply of clean water.

The vision 2030 flagship project marks the accomplishments of one of the Millenium Development goals of increasing water supply in the country.

The project under the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, is the largest of its kind undertaken in the Rift Valley region and was handed over to the RVWSB by the contractor on September 2014.

The court scheduled the case hearing for September 10.

- MyNews24

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