STATEMENT BY MR. SIMON CHELUGUI, CABINET SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF WATER AND SANITATION, ON PATEL DAM DISASTER IN SOLAI, SUBUKIA SUB-COUNTY ISSUED ON FRIDAY, 11TH MAY, 2018
First and foremost, I wish to take this opportunity to pass my sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and property in this disaster. As a Ministry, we are deeply disturbed by this disaster and have joined other Government Ministries and Agencies to put in place measures to help the affected families to cope with the effects of the disaster.
This disaster is a water related occurrence arising out of development and operation of private dams. I wish to reiterate that the function of ensuring dam safety is vested with My Ministry as per the Water Act, 2016. In this regard, the Ministry through the Water Resources Authority (WRA) regulates the management and use of water resources. This responsibility includes regulation of the development and use of all water storage infrastructure. In order to do this, the law requires all dam owners and operators to follow the regulations as hereunder:
In the case of Patel Dam, it is observed that the dam owner who is also the dam operator was in breach of the law and did not adhere to any of these requirements. We further note that the other dams on his farm are also illegal. It is unfortunate that this incident has occurred when the Water Resources Authority has been pursuing the owner to ensure compliance. The Ministry will assist the law enforcement agencies in their investigations of this unfortunate event.
I wish to assure the Country that My Ministry has a technical team in place that ensures compliance with dam safety measures throughout the country. The technical team will continue to undertake comprehensive assessment of all existing dams and necessary measures to ensure safety of all dams. Further, My Ministry will constitute a National Multi-Sectoral Taskforce to undertake an extensive audit of all dams across the country in order to avert any future losses emanating from such catastrophes.
Due to the on-going rains, I wish to call upon members of the public to be vigilant and provide timely reports on suspected illegal dams that may threaten their lives and property to the Ministry of Water and Sanitation at our various regional and sub-regional offices across the country. The Water Resources Authority may also be reached through a 24 hour emergency phone line 0700 056472.
I hereby direct that all the other dams at Patel’s Farm be drained with immediate effect in order to avert any likelihood of a similar occurrence of disaster in the area.
I wish to assure Kenyans that my Ministry will demolish any water works that have been constructed in contravention of the Law and owners of unpermitted dams will be prosecuted and they are hereby put on notice of our intention to immediately implement all enforcement mechanisms provided for in law.
ASANTENI NA POLENI.
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