24 May 2018

Kenya: Govt to Review All Permits Issued to Dam Owners Countrywide

Nairobi — The Water Resources Authority (WRA) 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.

"WRA has initiated a countrywide assessment of all dams to ascertain their legal status, stability and safety. All dam proprietors and especially those who own or operate class B and C dams should know that all permits irrespective of whether they have expired or not shall be reviewed afresh. This process will help WRA to check on the compliance level on dam development," the authority stated.

"As you are aware, different parts of the country have been experiencing heavy abnormal downpour over the last two months. These extreme weather conditions which last occurred in 1997 have led to serious flooding episodes experienced in all water courses in all parts of the country."

Dam owners are expected to avail relevant documents for review.

"The following documents must be availed to facilitate the review. Original designs and plans together with sites assessment reports and feasibility studies of the dam prior to authorization and eventual construction. Authentic Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA)license detailing expected impacts on both upstream and downstream users," the statement said.

It said that 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.

There have been tragedies as a result of dams breaking the latest being the incident at Solai where about 48 people lost their lives.

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