Save Aberdare Rivers
The SaveAberdarerivers.org was started by concerned Murang’a County residents who understand the value of best river management practices. Our vision is to protect all the rivers that flow from Nyandarua Mountain range (Aberdare) from opportunistic, unsustainable flow extraction and environmental degradation.
Unsustainable extraction consists of diverting excessive amounts of water from the rivers without making allowances for the domestic, agricultural, industrial water requirements of the downstream communities and also the flow to maintain the rivers in a healthy condition.
We are alarmed due to two large water projects by the Athi Water Service Board (AWSB) to divert water from most of the Nyandarua water towers and pipe it to the Nairobi Metropolitan area. Phase One of the projects, which is referred as the Northern Collector Tunnel (NCT) will collect about 140,000 cubic meters per day from the Irati, Maragua and Gikigie rivers through a tunnel that is three meters wide. This is a very large tunnel and even if all the three rivers are emptied into it, it won’t fill. Phase Two will collect a similar volume from the North and South Mathioya rivers. If the projects are constructed, Murang’a County will have everlasting drought which will degrade its economy, social fabric and environment. Like all other Kenyans, we desire the Metropolitan residents to have adequate water. However, the NCT projects appear to be exploitive, unbalanced, and will do more harm than good to Murang’a County.
Due to these concerns, on January 2015, Murang’a County residents convinced the County Government to commission an independent study of the Phase I NCT project. The Technical Committee submitted the report in April of 2015. We decided to act after reading and understanding the alarming, harmful consequences of the NCT project. Below are quotations of a few of the Findings and Conclusions.
- Project will have long term impacts to 336,877 people in Murang’a who use the rivers.
- Combined normal flow (Q80) in the three rivers is 267,800 cubic meters per day while (northern collector tunnel) NCT average is 259,200 cubic meters per day, implying that the NCT project will divert more than 97% of the river flow during 90% of the year.
- NCT abstraction as currently designed will result to 60% or approximately 216 days every year with zero or extremely low flow downstream. This is equivalent to introducing perpetual drought in Murang’a County.
- Tunneling may result to changes in the underground drainage and drying of springs and rivers.
- Project planning has not (been, sic) demonstrated specific and tangible benefits to the people of Murang’a, nor has consultation with Murang’a taken place to determine nature, size and priority areas of benefit interventions.
- Although the AWSB plans to construct a 3 meter diameter tunnel in a zone with numerous hills, valleys and streams that supply water to several hundred thousand Murang’a County residents, the committee stated that “drawing(s) evidence from similar projects tunneling may result to changes in the underground drainage and drying of springs and rivers”. Residents are very fearful that the tunneling will puncture underground aquifers and disrupt current flow paths to rivers and springs.