Dry ponds push Homa Bay residents to the edge

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It is 4am. Men and women are racing behind donkeys pulling carts heading to River Awach.

This has been the norm for residents of Kanyipir, Kanyamwa, and Kandiege in Homa Bay County following the drought which has seen water ponds dry.

These areas have been relying on pond water for domestic use, but with the dry ponds, some have to walk up to 15 kilometres to access this precious commodity from the nearest river.

Those who cannot make it to the river have to cough out Sh30 for every 20-litre container of the raw river water. It is a dire situation here.

“We are left in the hands of God. Nobody is talking about our plight,” said Odhiambo Njoga, a resident of Knyipir, claiming that despite their plea, the area leadership remains mum.

Jane Akinyi, a resident of Oriwo village claims that water has remained a campaign tool in the area, with no one moving closer to solving the puzzle despite the county bordering the Africa’s largest fresh water lake, Lake Victoria.

“For example during any electioneering period, the leaders promise to complete West Karachuonyo water project so as to sort out this matter once and for all. But it remains just that, a promise,” she says.

Kennedy Owiti is a herdsman from Kandiege, where Nyangwente pond is located.

“We are now forced to walk 14 miles to access water, and some of our cattle have died in the process,” he said.

The situation could even get worse should it not rain any soon since the number of affected families by this situation is approximately 30,000 households.

Homa Bay County Water Minister Dr Dickson Oruko admitted office is aware of the situation.

He however said the county government was working in collaboration with national government on a mechanism for long term solution to the residents.

“Our aim is to ensure there is consistent supply of fresh water in order to permanently eliminate that problem from people who are affected,” he said.

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