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Nyeri's man made river flowing since 1902 gets title deed.

You obviously need a title deed for land but did you know you can also get to own a river?The Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri has acquired the legal document to own a man-made river whose source stretches from the Aberdare Ranges.River Kalondon gets its water from River Muringato in the Aberdares before it splits to Mathari in Nyarugumu village.

The man-made river covers two acres of land before re-joining its natural course through a hill farm in the area.CONSOLATA MISSIONARIESThe river was dug out by the Consolata missionaries who settled in Mathari in 1902 and has been flowing ever since.

The missionaries were given the land by the government and needed water for their domestic use.They also needed to generate electricity for a mission hospital and school that were being built in the area.

It also provided water to a 3,000-acre farm in the area in which the missionaries planted tea and coffee besides setting up a coffee factory in the area which also got its water from the river.They hired Africans to work in the farm in exchange of food and water.

When the missionaries left the country, the Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri formalised the ownership by acquiring a title deed for the river and the land in which it passes through.SECURE RIVERThe main reason for acquiring a title deed was to secure it from any damage or contamination by locals.

The title deed also ensures that no farming activity happens near the canal hence its continued flow is assured.There are, however, challenges that come with owning a river, the major one being siltation.

Whenever it rains, the river causes disruption to the homesteads around the areaAt times, there is also insufficient water for people downstream.Some farmers in the area block the river upstream so that they can irrigate their farms.

ILLEGAL PIPINIllegal tapping is also another problem as regulations indicate that one should not tap the water using a pipe that is more than two inches in diameter. But some of the residents tap the water even with a four-inch pipe.

Also, it is at times difficult to monitor and maintain certain points of the river especially those that are in the interior, as those who work on it may become endangered.The river supplies water to Kamwenja Teachers College, Kamwenja farm, Nyeri High School, Mathari Complex, Sisters of Mary Immaculate and residents around Mwenji village where it passes through.

But many residents now depend on water from local water companies and only rely on the river for irrigation.

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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Aug 26, 2019
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