Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has allocated Ksh 1 billion in the budget for the next financial year to fix the perennial water shortages that affect most parts of the expansive County.
This was revealed by the Policy Advisor in the Office of the Governor Mr Nzungi Ngwele while addressing residents of Kasiluni Village of Ngomeni Ward, Mwingi North Sub County.
Mr Ngwele said Governor Ngilu was committed to providing enough water for domestic use and for livestock, and had set a target of ensuring that 60% of the residents of Kitui County had access to clean water by the year 2020.
The residents were excited to learn that Ngomeni Ward was earmarked to benefit from distribution of piped water from the Ngomeni Rock Catchment and construction of weir and filtration wells to harness water from the Thunguthu seasonal river, among other proposed projects.
Mr. Ngwele was speaking when he accompanied the Kyuso Deputy County Commissioner Mwachaunga Chaunga to resolve a community dispute that arose after some individuals fenced off parts of the Itikoni kwa Kiluvi Wetland in Kasiluni, blocking access to communal water wells and a borehole constructed by the County Government.
The DCC gave the individuals who had encroached on the wetland a 5-day ultimatum to vacate or be arrested and prosecuted.
The DCC said his office in collaboration with NEMA and the County Government would halt any efforts by individuals to grab and sell the wetland that serves as a water source to thousands of residents and their neighboring communities whose major economic activity is livestock keeping.
‘‘These people must demolish the fences on these wetlands and give space for the community to access their wells. At the expiry of the 5 days notice we will be back here to arrest those who have not obeyed,” said Mr Mwachaunga, who was accompanied by the Kyuso District Security team.
He directed area Chief Timothy Kimwele to work with Ngomeni Ward Administrator to oversee the formation of community committee for conservation and utilization of the wetland in accordance with the law.
Community spokesperson Mr. Mwasi Nzenge thanked the national and county governments for standing with the community to resist the grabbing of the wetland and requested that the area be demarcated and gazetted as a community conservation site.
A March 2011 order issued by NEMA directed those encroaching into wetlands and adjacent riparian land to vacate noting that wetlands also include swamps, springs, dams, rivers, lakes, deltas, estuaries, mangroves among others.
Land encroachment in the area has threatened peace and residents hope authorities will save their only water source for their livestock.