Senate wants Tana Delta residents paid for flood-driven loss
The Senate has passed a motion which calls on the government to compensate communities living downstream of the River Tana Delta for losses they have incurred because of effects of activities upstream.
The lawmakers want the government to come up with policies to support communities that live in the lower part of the river.
Debating the motion moved by Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana, members said residents continue to bear the brunt of floods whenever KenGen releases dam water during the rainy season.
Mungatana argued that River Tana plays an important role in the lives of the communities living on its banks including Garissa and Tana River counties whose main economic activities are livestock keeping, crop farming and fishing.
“The hoarding of water at the Seven Forks Dam and other significant upstream activities such as irrigation and small scale dams limit the amount of water that flows downstream through River Tana significantly affecting agricultural activities in irrigation schemes such as Bura, Galole and other small scale irrigation schemes in the Tana Delta,” he said.
“Senate urges the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation in conjunction with the Water Resources Authority to conduct stakeholder participation before undertaking any major upstream activity including the construction of dams, before the release of water during the rainy season and limiting the flow of water to River Tana during the dry season,” said Mungatana (pictured).
The Senator is also urging the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to put in place a compensation mechanisms to support residents affected by perennial flooding and water scarcity.
Ali Roba (Mandera) said that water levels in the river had been reduced, and farming activities in Garissa and Tana River affected due to exploitation of the river.
“Post-project assessment must be done and whatever measures needed to be taken to cushion downstream communities against the impact of such projects,” said Roba.
Samson Cherargei (Nandi) said government agencies dealing with water management should put in place mechanisms to ensure people affected by the mismanagement of water resources are compensated.