As many parts of the country continue to experience harsh conditions of climate change that include unpredictable weather and prolonged drought, the county government of Uasin Gishu has been in the process of desilting phase by phase all the 330 water dams that were constructed over 90 years ago during the colonial period.
According to the Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno who spoke during an inspection exercise of the Chelabal Dam that occupies an 11-acre piece of land in Soy Sub County, most of the dams are located in agricultural areas which are fertile but once the maize crop is harvested people are forced to wait for the long rains to plant again.
But now with the rehabilitation of the dams, local residents among them farmers will get a reserve of harvested water that they can utilize during the dry season and also engage in crop diversification ventures.
Chemno said that the farmers in the maize growing regions have new sources of reliable water supply that will enable them to engage in income-generating ventures like, vegetables, passion fruits, and Irish potatoes farming.
The dams will also be stocked with fish fingers and help local residents engage in fish gauge farming.
“With this dam, we expect locals in this area to grow more short-term crops. It will enable locals to make money and also improve health conditions through available rich food like beans, fish, and vegetables,” Chemno said.
The Deputy Governor added that the initiative will enable young people to involve themselves in income-generating projects that would uplift their standards of living and besides, bring them some income through fishing.
“We want to enable young people to get a place to come fishing and make a livelihood as jobs are scarce, but once the dam is distilled and water is full we’ll have millions of fingerlings,” noted Chemno.
County Executive Committee Member for Water and Environment Mary Njogu said that her department is sensitizing residents to plant short-term crops like tomatoes, cabbages, sukumawiki to empower themselves economically in the program that is also targeting the youth to make use of the dams.
Simon Tarus, a village elder at Chelabal Bahari, Segero Barsombe ward in Soy Sub County said the dam in their area will help them get enough water that will also be used in the nearby public schools and they hope the project will be completed very soon.