Solai dam tragedy Shock as more than 3,000 Kenyan dams lack safety permits

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Only 843 out of the 4,140 dams and pans are regulated by the Water Resources Authority

play Patel dam, Solai (Courtesy)

More than 3,000 dams in Kenya have no safety permits, a watchdog committee heard on Tuesday.

Water and Sanitation principal secretary Joseph Irungu told the Environment and Natural Resources Committee that only 843 out of the 4,140 dams and pans are regulated by the Water Resources Authority (WRA).

play Turkwel Dam, West Pokot (Courtesy)


The hearing comes after the committee launched a probe into the safety of dams in the country following the Solai tragedy earlier this year in which 47 people were killed after the dam burst its banks.

Mr Irungu said WRA only inspected a weir in 2014 that the Patel Farm owners converted into a dam without regulatory approvals.


WRA chief executive officer Mohamed Shuriye said a further review of the dam was due to happen in December 2018.

play Solai dam burst its banks killing 48 people (Courtesy)


Mr Shuriye did not, however, explain why the agency did not implement recommendations by its officer who inspected the Patel dam.

“This officer suspected transformation of a weir into a dam in 2014 and thus recommended continuous monitoring and licensing by WARMA. We would like to know why you didn’t implement the recommendation,” MPs asked.

The task force is expected to submit a report on the status of the dams by August 6, 2018 following its appointment on June 6.

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