Tom Mboya Nanyeka, a 50-year-old family man in Pakase village at Shompole Kajiado county is a happy man.
His family can now access water for domestic use after years of struggle courtesy of a well built by the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK).
“I have experienced water scarcity since I was a little boy. It is always an exciting moment for us when forums to drill or bring in piped water closer to the villages are initiated,” Nanyeka said.
He said despite the water being salty, it has been helpful for domestic use and for watering livestock.
“The NOCK water project saved us from traveling several kilometers,” he said.
Nanyeka, however, noted that the bliss brought by ease of access to water lasted only for two years.
“A year ago, the borehole broke down due to a lack of proper maintenance,” he said.
As a result, residents at Pakase village have no water.
He said the residents are forced to share the borehole drilled at Olkirimatian which is still functioning.
“Residents are ripping from round-the-clock water supply, they have taken advantage and planted pawpaw tress a few meters from the water well,” Nanyeka said.
“The tank has served the community quite well in the last few years. When the tank had issues, I contacted the NOCK office and they were courteous enough to conduct the necessary repair and maintenance,” Jimmy Melita said.
Melita works with the Kajiado county government and is a former programmes officer at the National Oil Corporation of Kenya.
He said the OlKirmatian community was lucky to have the bore hole close by which saved them treks to Oloibosoto river, a reasonable walking distance away.
The adoption of a participatory range management system is trying to mitigate the effects of climate change and conflict in areas where long periods of drought have affected the quantity of water in Kajiado county.
During a community meeting, residents of the organised Kenya Oil and Gas Working Group (KOAWG) shared ideas about oil and gas exploration activities in the county.
Gertrude Kibare, an advocate, and extractive expert Muturi Kamau who also doubles up as a coordinator of the KOAWG, shared knowledge with the locals.
The locals were attentive and comprehended the complex but critical issues about the different stages of oil and gas exploration and how that would affect their environment, their lifestyle and the possible benefit they may have.
The residents, however, took issue with the exploration activities saying they were not consulted over the phased oil and gas exploration process.
“The secrecy is definitely creating mistrust between the government and communities,” Muturi said.
He explained to the community the complexities involved in oil and gas exploration.
Kibare on the other hand briefed them on the laws and regulations concerning the sector as well as their rights. She explained the laws and rights the residents hold in the economic venture.
The community questioned how they would receive their five per cent share and how the money will be shared once the gas and oil venture becomes economically profitable.
Critical fear of the county government interfering with the money before it gets to the actual residents troubled them enough to wish that the exploration fails to bear fruit or land small quantities that are not viable commercially.
Other than water scarcity, Kajiodo county has a poor road network.
The road connecting Magadi to Nkurmani to Shompole and Ol Olkiramatian is rough and filled with rocks leaving less to be desired.
In some incidents, we had to invent paths since the road was not visible, especially from the reserve heading to Shompole.
The effects of climate change worsen the situation and results in scarcity of these resources through drought/flood, which impacts climate change.