Gatanga sub-county residents now have a reason to smile following the launch of an irrigation project in the area. The more than 2,000 households will now be able to farm all year round without problems of lack of water for irrigation.
The Sh53 million project to be set up in Gatanga sub-county, Murang’a county by the national government will provide families in Wanduhi, Ndakaini and Kimandi locations with water to irrigate their farms.
According to details on the project, it is expected to be completed in six months by National Irrigation Authority (NIA).
Residents of Gatanga sub-county have, for long, complained of poor access to piped water despite playing host to the biggest source of water for Nairobi and its environs.
Speaking at Ngerechi during the ground breaking ceremony a week ago, Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati said the scheme will allow diversification of crops and enable farmers to grow fast-maturing varieties.
“A 30-kilometre pipeline will be laid from the source to homes in the identified villages so that farmers can embark on growing crops,” he said.
The water will be drawn from river Kiama on the slopes of Aberdare ranges.
Most farmers in the area practice tea farming and some have noted that with the availability of water for irrigation, they will be able to grow fast maturing horticultural crops, thus boosting income generation.
The residents congratulated the government for the project saying it will give them options when the prices of tea, the dominant crop in the area, slump.
The capital gets about 85 per cent of its water from Ndakaini dam.
Nduati said the irrigation project is one of the many the government is implementing in the constituency.
In Kiarutara, the government has laid pipes worth Sh10 million for another water project while similar schemes are ongoing in Mbugiti and Rakemo.
Chair of the irrigation scheme Elias Mwaniki said many years of suffering led them to form a group to champion water projects from the government.
“For a long time, we have been knocking in many offices seeking help and now we thank God that our plight has been addressed through this project, among others, that will be implemented in different areas of the sub-county,” he said.
With availability of the water, Mwaniki added, they are able to engage in commercial farming to improve their living standards.