Savula asks the government to construct a dam in Nzoia forest to mitigate floods

Lugari MP Ayub Savula when he donated food to the floods victims in Likuyani
Lugari MP Ayub Savula when he donated food to the floods victims in Likuyani

Lugari MP Ayub Savula has urged the national government to restart negotiations with the World Bank to revive plans to construct a multi-billion shillings dam in Lugari to mitigate perennial floods along Nzoia River.

Speaking when he donated an assortment of food items to 162 floods victims in Likuyani Sub county Savula said it was high time the government came up with a permanent solution to the floods menace along river Nzoia.

He said he had written to the national government to have a section of the 1, 800 acres of land in Nzoia  forest set aside to facilitate the construction of a dam along River Nzoia to avert flooding downstream, with a Kshs 2.5 billion funding from the World Bank, money that had earlier been allocated for the project before some disagreements arose.

“I have written to the environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko requesting the dam to be constructed in Nzoia forest,” said Savula adding he had also talked to Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa over the proposal.

Savula said he fully supports the construction of the dam in the area but opposed any move to relocate residents.

In 2011 the World Bank had allocated Kshs. 15.4 billion for the construction of a dam that was expected to cover from Mukuyu sub location of Mautuma location in Lugari sub county and stretch all the way to Kabuyefwe, Mahanga, Sirakalu, Mbakalu, and Naitiri Sub locations in Bungoma before the project received a strong opposition from political leaders.

Images of burst river banks, raging floods, and painful struggle to evacuate and relocate human beings to safer zones, drowning property translating into millions of shillings in terms of households, domestic animals and crops have, until recently, been foreign phenomena in eyes of residents living along River Nzoia in Lugari and Likuyani sub county.

Even though the meteorological department had earlier on sent warning that the country was going to experience lots of rainfalls, nobody had foreseen or imagined this magnitude of a flood calamity visiting residents living near River Nzoia in the two sub counties.

But maybe the government of Kenya in partnership with the World Bank had earlier on seen it come when it proposed construction of the then controversially and suspended mega billion multipurpose dam.

While complete, the 42 square kilometer dam was envisaged to produce water for irrigation to enable all the year round horticultural farming besides providing water for domestic consumption. It was also expected to generate some power to the national grid and serve as a recreation facility and above all help control flooding in Budalang’i.

Perhaps the current raging floods could not have occurred in Likuyani, Lugari and  Tongareni sub counties had someone passed the correct and informed messages to people living along the banks of River Nzoia on the need to mitigate effects of floods and supported the government’s initiative of building a dam at the then identified site on the river.