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Kiambu to ‘move’ Manguo swamp to Tigoni amid dispute

By Clement Kamau
Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Manguo Wetland in Limuru.
In summary
    • According to the Kiambu county Water Executive David Kuria, boreholes sunk at the shores of the swamp and ran by Limuru Water and Sewerage Company had filled to the brim thereby breaking down water pumps.

Manguo wetland in Limuru, Kiambu County which is an attractive aquatic ecosystem with special habitats and unchallenged biodiversity is on the brink of drying up.

Kiambu County intends to dry the wetland, arguing that it has compromised the supply of water in Limuru town.

According to the Kiambu Water Minister David Kuria, boreholes sunk on the shores of the swamp and ran by Limuru Water and Sewerage Company have filled to the brim thereby breaking down water pumps.

He said that the recent rains caused the rise of water levels in the swamp blocking access to the pumps.

Kuria told the media on Wednesday that since the water volume was not reducing, the county had embarked on a strategy of draining the water into Tigoni swamp and dam.

“Our people have not been having piped water since our engineers cannot access the pump. We have checked where the water will pass, levels and even the speed,” he said.

He added the government has started making a terrace from the swamp to connect it to water drainage systems in Limuru town.

The wetland water will then be drained into the Limuru water sewerage treatment plant about three kilometers away.

"The terraces will be constructed with culverts and covered with concrete since it will be draining the swamp every time it is filled with water," he said.

Further, he said that the county government had spoken with people living and operating businesses along the tunnel and given them the greenlight.

A prominent real estate entrepreneur Joseph Mulemwa said he will be adversely affected by the project as his tenants moved away after the county government started digging up terraces.

“We are not here illegally. The government has been visiting us and we showed them our documents and how we came here,” Mulemwa said.

He accused a local politician of sabotaging the project by alleging that he had been allowed to set up buildings in riparian land.

“When you unblock the swamp without a proper plan, definitely the water will flow and flood in our town,” Kuria said.

A local , Robert Githire, said residents were forced to remove a small dam which was erected by private developers at the outlet of the swamp.

"I have written a protest letter to Water CS Sicily Kariuki, Governor James Nyoro, Nema and Warma demanding action on the problem but no step has been taken," he said,

“About 3,000 people have been suffering due to lack of water since the pumps in the swamp have not been functioning. Water engineers told us that they can't access the pumps due to flooding," said Mary Wanjiru, a resident.

But environmentalists accuse the county government of interfering with the wetland by sinking boreholes in it.

The wetland is a typical tropical swamp covering an approximated area of 50 acres under private ownership making it hard to control its conservation.

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