By The Eastern Newspaper Correspondent
The construction of a one-million-liter water tank by Chuka University at Kairini in the dry Igambangómbe area in Tharaka Nithi is almost will transform the lives of the residents.
Chuka University Vice-Chancellor Prof Erastus Njoka said the tank set on a hilly section at the institution’s farm at Kairini will supply water for agricultural training for both the students and local farmers.
The water will also be available for an ultra-modern hospital planned by an international organization on a chunk of land to be donated by the university.
Additionally, the water will come in handy as the university and Israelis are partnering in an ambitious tissue culture farming project.
The project is expected to benefit the farming community in Tharaka Nithi, and the students taking agricultural courses.
“The one million tanks is to supply water to the 500-acre farm,” said Prof Njoka.
The Kairini farm serves as a facility for training students and local farmers on drip irrigation among other agricultural technologies.
Njoka said the upper areas of Tharaka Nithi are rich in terms of soil and with abundant water sources, which should be tapped for the benefit of local farmers, including those in the lower areas in Tharaka.
Njoka who is also constructing a three million liter tank at the university, challenged the county government to build two 50 million tanks at Kijege and Gikingo near Kathangacini, where locals have no water to grow pasture for their livestock, yet they are in the vicinity of permanent rivers.
The VC said if residents of Kijege and Gikingo have a total of 100 million liter tanks, they can grow grass for their livestock and food crops.
“We have 17, 000 students at the university and we have been able to ensure they have enough water for their use, and we also supply more to Chuka General Hospital. If we can do a one-million tank for the demonstration farm and a three million liter tank at Sh42 million, we are challenging the county government to construct two 50 million liter tanks for the two dry areas,” Njoka said.
The VC said livestock and dairy farmers in the arid region were suffering for lack of water, yet the Tharaka region had hills that are suitable for the construction of the tanks and distribution to residents below.
“If we take water on top of the hills it can be pumped from the river Thagana. Gikingo is 10km from the river and Kijege hill is nine km away. If we have constructed a one million liter on top of a small hill to supply 500 acres, it is possible (for county government) to do a 50m liter tank,” he said.
He said Sh1 billion is adequate to turn Tharaka into land for growing of grass, vegetables, and other crops.