Residents of Kwa Ndolo area, Yatta Sub-county are up in arms against the Machakos County Government, over a stuck Sh57 million dam, constructed in the area four years ago.
The 100 million litres capacity Nthungululu Dam offered hope to residents of water-scarce Ndalani Ward, but has since dried due to underground water seepage.
A purification plant, storage reservoir and reticulation across the villages that were part of the project, have also dried up with no activity going on at the site.
The project that was meant to pipe treated water into over 2,000 households, is now a white elephant, despite the huge investment.
The residents explained how they gave out their land to the County Government for the construction of the dam, amidst hopes that it would put to an end the challenges of walking for over 10 kilometers to fetch water at Thika River.
“We donated several acres of land and the dam was dug; a purification plant and a storage reservoir were also constructed and water piped to our homesteads for the first three months. However, water started leaking underground and the dam dried up. We have never received any water for the past four years,” said Josphat Makau, the Dam Manager.
He said after the dam dried up, the water purification plant became faulty and the project became an empty shell.
All that remains of the project is a bushy site with an old fence around the treatment plant.
“Had the Machakos County Government done due diligence before commencing the project, the dreams of the village of getting piped water into their homes and fighting poverty through irrigation from the dam water would not have died,” Makau said.
The dam is among the several other water projects that the Machakos County government has been boasting of, which residents claim have stalled.
Over 10 workers who had been employed at the dam led by Eunice Mwikali, owe the County Government millions of shillings in unpaid wages.
Mwikali, who lives close to the dam termed it a death trap and fears that her children may trespass the purification plant and drown.
“I can barely stay away from my two sons because the dam is not well secured. I’m always alert since I fear my children may trespass into the dam and drown,” she said.
Their prayer is for the government to revive the dam by re-designing it to curb seepage and ensure it collects enough water during the rainy season.
Francis Kilango, a local leader, called on the investigative agencies to probe works on the dam, to establish whether public money was lost.
He said it was wrong for leaders to take advantage of the many water challenges that Kenyans go through to benefit themselves and that value for money should be guaranteed in all government projects.
“Had the dam been constructed following the correct procedures, then water challenges and food unavailability in this semiarid area, would never have been a challenge,” Kilango said.