Factors influencing restoration and sustainability of the Nairobi dam in Nairobi county, Kenya
The Nairobi Dam was commissioned in 1953 as reservoir for potable and emergency water supply. The damgradually became a major attraction for recreational activities such as sport fishing, sailing, diving, picnics and other water sports. Unfortunately, heavy pollution emanating from the high-density population of the Kibra informal settlement stimulated growth of invasive plant species and curtailed recreational activities (Namale, 2013). Other problems include the lack of proper waste management and dam safety. This and other pollutants have rendered the water in the river system and the dam totally unusable and hazardous to human health. The study assessed the factors influencing the restoration and sustainability of the Nairobi Dam. The objectives of the study were to examine how stakeholder engagement, infrastructure development, environmental education, and, organizational management;could influence the and sustainability of the dam.The study used quantitative and qualitative research designs to investigate and analyze the problem at hand. The data collection instruments included questionnaires, interview, observation methods, and secondary data sources. The findings were presented using tables, frequencies and percentages. The target population for the study constituted the Kibra residents,The Nairobi County Government, NEMA, UNEP and UNHABITAT. The findings on stakeholder engagement revealed that 84.8% felt not all major stakeholders been targeted, 82.6% indicated that the project planning meetings were rare and irregular, 83.6% felt that the project stakeholders were disintegrated; On infrastructure development, 74.4% felt that the existing laws and legislations on water resources management were not enforceable, 68.6% highlighted the importance of installing sewerage and waste management system in Kibra slums, and 81.4% felt that the County Government had no control on the dam management. On the issue of environmental education, 82.5% felt that the government had not engaged the public in training to increase environmental awareness, 52.3% were of the opinion that environmental education had not been mainstreamed into national school curriculum, and 70.9% felt that the public had no access to environmental management information. On organizational management, 72.1% indicatedthe importance of engaging PPPs in the dam project implementation, 76.7% were of the opinion that project resources had not been properly utilized, and 81.4% did not think the government had plans to resettle and provide alternative livelihoods to the Kibra slum residents. The study recommends the engagement of all stakeholders, strengthening the governance structure and legal framework on water resources management integration of environmental education into school curriculum and government to consider defining the mandate for the Nairobi County Government to gain autonomous control of the dam and prevent political interference. Once restored, the dam could offer a source of emergency water in case of fires, a recreational resort that could create employment, a source of clean water, curb insecurity, promote environmental conservation through waste management and pollution reduction, become an invaluable asset to food security, save residents from communicable and water-borne diseases, help landlords to regain value of their property, and serve as a national treasure and tourist attraction.