Residents protest flower farm’s river diversion

More than 3,000 residents of Soin and Mosop wards in Rongai Nakuru County are up in arms against the management of a flower farm that has diverted their only sources of water into their farms.

Irate residents accused the African Blooms flower company of deliberately diverting water from Solai and Shawa rivers using two large pipes, leaving other residents with no water for their daily needs.

The residents noted that despite efforts by water regulator Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) officials to resolve the standoff, the flower farm has continued to divert the water with little regard for their neighbours.

And due to the diversion, small scale farmers who use the river water for irrigation have been unable to water their crops due to lack of water, a situation that has led to drying up of their crops.

Efforts by local leaders to intervene in the standoff have borne no fruit with Mosop MCA, Daniel Mutai complaining that the management of the flower farm has turned a deaf ear to all their efforts at resolve the unfolding crisis.

While addressing the area residents during a meeting held at Salgaa, local leaders said their efforts to reconcile the water users had failed as the company was still diverting the water.

They called on the County government to intervene and resolve the problem so that the little available resources were shared equally.

Area residents complained that they have continued to suffer due to selfishness of a few individuals and especially during the dry season, when water levels are very low with the worst hit being residents of Kambi ya Moto location.

In addition, the flower farm has also been accused of disposing their waste products into the same rivers thereby posing a serious health risk to people living downstream.

The residents noted that a reservoir dam for waste water had been sipping its contents into the river as it was full, thus portending grave danger to other water users.

They called on the relevant authorities to take steps to protect them from the excesses of the flower farm.

Efforts to get into the factory for an interview with the managers were thwarted by security officers who threatened journalists with dire consequences if they exposed the activities of the farm. The flower farm management declined to comment on the matter.

When contacted, Nakuru County Director of Environment, Timothy Muriithi Kiogora said his office would look up into the issue and take corrective measures to rectify the situation.

He further promised that an audit of the premises would be undertaken to establish whether environmental laws were being flouted.

Source: Kenya News Agency