MP wants Kajiado to implement rainwater harvesting law

Onesmus Ngogoyo

Kajiado North MP Onesmus Ngogoyo addresses the press. He wants the Kajiado County government to implement the Rainwater Harvesting Law.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Kajiado North MP Onesmus Ngogoyo wants the Kajiado County government to implement the Rainwater Harvesting Law to tap into the scarce resource during the rainy season.

The first-time MP, who served as MCA in the Kajiado County Assembly between 2013 and 2022, tabled the Rainwater Harvesting Bill in the Assembly in 2021 before it was passed and enacted into law in August 2022.

The law required all buildings in both rural and urban areas of the county to have water harvesting and storage infrastructure.

The new law also required those intending to build residential and commercial buildings to immediately seek approval for water harvesting facilities.

The county has experienced perennial water shortages in satellite towns and rural villages. During the 2020-2022 drought, the county lost at least 1 million livestock and 350 families were left starving. Despite heavy rains, rainwater has been wasted, exposing the county's inability to harvest it.

So far, floods have killed two people, displaced dozens of families and destroyed millions of shillings worth of property, particularly in satellite towns such as Ngong, Kiserian, Ongata Rongai and Kitengela.

 "It is sad to see rainwater being wasted when it could be harvested for future use. Due to climate change, we need to adopt water harvesting mechanisms," said Mr Ngogoyo.

He urged the devolved unit to consider working with development partners to build water reservoirs in certain parts of the vast county.

"Other counties have water reservoirs in the form of mega dams. Kajiado County has the potential to become the regional food basket because of the availability of fertile land. A mega reservoir is long overdue," he added.

 The rainwater harvesting law should cut across the county. The Maasai community in rural areas may be forced to install water gutters in their homes.

The county government was mandated to provide financial assistance to resident welfare associations, private schools, institutional buildings, hospitals and charitable institutions for the construction of rainwater harvesting structures.

Existing buildings were given 18 months from the date of enactment of the bill to comply, with a three-month grace period for new buildings.

Anyone applying for building approvals will also be required to seek approval for water harvesting.

Failure to comply with the new directive will result in a fine of Sh100,000 for commercial buildings and Sh50,000 for residential buildings, or six months' imprisonment.

 The county Lands, Physical Planning and Housing Department was supposed to oversee implementation.

However, a Nation spot check in Kitengela town and environs on Tuesday revealed that the law has not been implemented, with new buildings not complying with the requirements.

"Maybe the law only exists on paper, I have never heard of it. It would have eased the water shortage in Kajiado," said John Kamunge, a local contractor.