Tea farmers count losses after Gura Hydro Power canal overflows
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 24 – Tea farmers at Gura in Othaya are counting losses after Gura Hydro Power canal overflowed and swept tea bushes in the area.
The Hydro Power plant is a project owned by Kenya Tea Development Authority and supplies power to 4 tea factories in the area.
The farmers in the area said that this is the third time the canal has overflowed and KTDA has kept silent over the issue.
Nyeri South Deputy County Commissioner Thomas Mundia urged the people living in the lower side of the canal to vacate the area to ensure they are not affected due to the ongoing heavy rains.
KTDA Nyeri Regional Chairman Peter Kinyua said that a valuation exercise would be conducted immediately to determine the amount of damage caused to area farmers with the aim of compensation.
He also noted that they are in the process of buying the land along the canal to ensure no farmer will incur any loss in future.
In addition, he said power production has been stopped so that they can sort the families affected.
The power plant produces 6 megawatts and is expected to save farmers over sh40 million that they used to pay annually to the Kenya Power Company.
The incident comes even as the Water Resources Authority is set to review the permits of all dam proprietors to ascertain their legal status, stability and safety.
According to the Authority, the aim of the exercise will be to identify those dams at a high risk of breaching, to mitigate any negative impact.
Through a statement, it stated that all permits will be reviewed afresh in a process that will help the body check on the compliance levels of Dam development.
Any dams found to be in contravention of the laid down requirements shall be shut down and decommissioned at the owner’s cost, and legal action taken.
Those living near rivers have also be urged to move to higher grounds and adhere to the relevant flood alerts to avoid loss of lives, destruction of property and the spread of waterborne diseases.