Nairobi Dam; Google Earth

A portion of residents and experts have decried the recent call by Members of Parliament serving in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee to drain the Nairobi Dam and fill it with earth.

Debate about the dam found its way into parliament late last year after the
Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) and National Environmental Management Authority drafted a notice of demolition to the owners, citing that the property was sitting on a riparian reserve. What followed was a call by a section of MP’s to reclaim the dam.

However, Urban Planners, Environmental and Conservation experts have given their voice in disagreement with the proposal by the parliamentary committee, reasoning that such a move would be acutely detrimental to the city’s under-performing drainage system and a threat to immediate local residents. Further, residents have questioned the ends of the reclaimed land.

Local residents hold the opinion that MPs cannot take such a decision without consulting the community. Most residents joined experts in proposing that the dam be rehabilitated to benefit the local community. Mr. Patson Kamoni who has lived in the area since 1974 told the Nation that, “We want the dam to be rehabilitated to benefit us.” According to the residents, cartels have taken over parts of the land around the dam for their own use.

Urban planners said that the dam has a very important function of flood control and reclaiming it would compound the problem. They added that the dam is a natural water shade and a floodplain for the various rivers and streams in Nairobi and a “sponge” for runoff water whenever it rains.

Urban planning experts suggest instead that the dam be cleared of waste and sedimentation be kept under control.

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