Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has called Raila Odinga’s outburst, about the Northern Water Collector Tunnel Project leading to desertification, false.
The CORD leader said in a press conference on Monday that the Northern Water Collector Tunnel Project would have adverse effects on people living on the Tana River basin, Murang’a, Garissa and Ukambani regions.
He called for the government to stop construction of the water project, which is allegedly funded by the World Bank. A project Raila claims is being undertaken secretly by the Jubilee administration.
”The environmental impact report recognizes the danger of the project and states that it may alter underground system.”
”It will also lead to severe loss of water in Tana River and dry up streams in Garissa, Ukambani and Tana River delta. Muranga, Garissa and Tana River will be deserts within five years of the project being launched.”
Raila Odinga further stated that the project goes against the Environmental Management Act and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation.
A huge number of species of aqua life in Muranga including seven special fish species would go extinct. He added that water flowing into Masinga dam would also be affected.
The Water Cabinet Secretary refutes Raila’s claim adding that the project being undertaken by the government is not secretive.
”What surprised me is that Raila Odinga claims the project is being secretly implemented by the Jubilee administration. I don’t want to accuse him of selective amnesia because I deeply respect him.”
He said Odinga launched the project in 2012 and that it is part of the Nairobi Water Master Plan. The government obtained all necessary approvals and licenses for the abstraction of water from Irati, Maragwa and Gikige rivers.
Wamalwa also added:
”The water supplied to Nairobi is 540,000 cubic meters yet what we require is over 700,000 cubic meters. We have about 6 million people in Nairobi every day, and Nairobi doesn’t have its own water.”
”The water sources for Nairobi are external. We need to work on these mega projects such as the northern collector tunnel. The World Bank is a key partner and conducts extensive studies before authorizing such a project.”
National Assembly Majority leader, Aden Duale, spoke on the matter and accused the CORD leader of seeking cheap publicity in his open criticism of the water project.
Duale said that Odinga was insincere in his criticism of the Water Collector Tunnel Project since he is the one who launched it during his time as Prime Minister in 2012.