Ngoliba residents elated by irrigation project poised to turn around their fortunes.

Fountain of Life: Water jets out of a pipe signalling renewed hope for Ngoliba residents after the revival of a stalled water project by Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina.
The long-awaited dream of the residents of Ndula, Magogoni and Ngoliba locations of Thika East sub-county to be self-reliant on food has finally come true.

For the first time in almost a decade, the residents could not hide their joy as irrigation water sprinkled on their farms following the intervention of the area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina.

Through his Jungle Foundation, the MP has already pumped in over Ksh. 30 million into the project that had stalled since 2015 after what is suspected to be misappropriation of public funds.

Ngoliba Ward is one of the wards in Thika Town Constituency with a history of numerous cases of starvation, especially during dry spell when the residents depend on food donations to survive.

While speaking over the weekend during an inspection tour to establish the progress of the project, Wainaina noted that Ngoliba and Gatuanyaga Wards had the potential of feeding the whole county through irrigation farming, having being blessed with two permanent rivers, Chania and Athi Rivers, whose water can be utilised for irrigation and assist thousands of residents living beside the rivers, rather than its water going to waste.

Thika MP Patrick Wainaina plants some sweet potato vines in one of the pieces of land that have already benefited from the new Ndumagu Irrigation Water Project.
“There is a lot of agricultural potential in Ngoliba and Gatuanyaga Wards that can feed the area, ensure food security and eradicate hunger affecting some parts of Kiambu and Machakos counties,” he said.

(Related story: MP kick-starts revival of stalled Sh. 400m water project.)

Wainaina was happy with the progress so far adding that his team intended to use another Ksh. 10 million to ensure that the water was now supplied to all the targeted 10,000 homesteads.

He said that the next phase of the project would see him assist the residents to grow crops for both and commercial purposes.

“I hope to create about 10,000 new jobs with this project through the growth of cash crops and development of micro-industries for value addition. This way, we will be able to turn around the economy of this region and improve the standards of living for our people,” he said.

The MP also called on the office of the DPP to investigate officials of the National Irrigation Board (NIB) and all those who were mandated to oversee the implementation of this project to establish whether there occurred any form of misappropriation of the Ksh. 400 million that had been allocated for the project.

Eng. Wainaina assists a Ngoliba resident of Ngoliba to draw water from one of the area water connection points.
Ms. Nancy Wangari recalled the last time the area had water was when Ngengi Muigai was the area MP (1979-1983) before it was skived off the former larger Gatundu Constituency.

Wangari says that women are most hit by the scarcity of water in the area as they have been trekking for long distances to fetch water from Rivers Chania and Athi.

“We have been depending on food rations from the government even though the area is very productive. With this water, we are going to feed ourselves and sell the surplus to get money for other uses,” explained Wangari.

Paul Kogi plans to embark on different farming activities that would not only guarantee food to eat but also generate some income to fend for his family.

Eng. Wainaina getting a brief from one of the officers in-charge of water services in Ngoliba region.
The idea to start Ndula-Maguguni (Ndumagu) Water Project was born in 2011 after residents experienced numerous water challenges due to the dry climatic conditions. Their pleas to the authorities were heard in 2013 when the National Irrigation Board (NIB) sent a team of surveyors to assess the viability of the project.

In 2015, the government allocated KES. 409 million to the project and released KES. 300million for the first phase, with the entire project scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016.

However, three years down the line, none of the residents has tasted the first drop of this prestigious investment.

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