Residents in Mpeketoni in Lamu are breathing a sigh of relief after a fresh water well was discovered near Lake Kenyatta which dried up a few weeks ago following ravaging drought.
For the past months, the lake, which is the only fresh water lake situated in Mpeketoni and which was named after Kenya's first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, has hit headlines after it dried up, leading to massive destruction of marine life and wildlife due to lack of water.
Once a natural beauty which acted as an attraction for nature lovers and revellers, the lake has become a desert dotted with carcasses of hippos and buffalos which died due to lack of water.
The crisis has even forced residents, especially fishermen who also depend on the lake for livelihood to flee.
Over 60,000 residents of Mpeketoni and its environs depended on the lake.
The discovery of the fresh water well within Lake Kenyatta has been termed as a miracle.
The well was discovered on the western shore of the lake by one of the residents.
Mpeketoni environmental activist Samuel Muchiri said the well had been abandoned for long but after further investigations it was discovered that it had a lot of water that can be pumped back to the lake.
He said nobody had any idea that there existed a well that could supply such amount of water which, according to him, will also save wild animals from dying.
"We are very happy. There is a well that we have discovered. Its water is very fresh. We have already joined hands as a community and provided three generators which are currently pumping water from the well back to the Lake," said Mr Muchiri.
He said he is confident that the discovered well will help save marine life and hippos which have been dying at an alarming rate in the worst drought in the history of Lake Kenyatta.
RELIEF FOR WILDLIFE
Speaking to the Nation on Sunday, Mr Harun Mwangi said the idea to pump the water from the well back to Lake Kenyatta has greatly assisted to bring it back to life.
"Wild animals were roaming into people's farms and homes after the lake dried up. We thank God that after we came up with the idea of pumping water back to the lake from the discovered well, wild animals have already started streaming back to the lake and reduced the cases of human-wildlife conflict. This has really encouraged us to work day and night pumping the water here," said Mr Mwangi.
He said a dedicated team of five community members are working together with environmental organisations and other well-wishers to make sure that the animals get water in time to stop them from causing havoc to the residents.
So far, Lamu Governor Issa Timamy together with County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri have toured the area and donated fuel to pump the water.
Lake Kenyatta is estimated to cover a stretch of 3.7 square kilometres when full.