NAIROBI- Over five hundred Kenyan Engineers on Thursday gathered at a dinner to deliberate ways to improve innovations in tunnel designs and construction in the country.
The dinner was organized by the Institution of Engineers of Kenya, the umbrella body that brings together all certified Engineers in the country, and Athi Water Works Development Agency.
Athi Water Services Board Chief Executive Officer Engineer Michael Thuita took the gathering through the history of tunnelling in the world, tracing back to 36 BC.
The discussions tackled innovations around tunnelling, its advantages and how Kenyan Engineers can use them to improve tunnelling in the country. The theme of the event was Innovations in Tunnel Design and Construction.
Institution of Engineers of Kenya President Engineer Collins Gordon Juma challenged professional and upcoming engineers that much is expected of them hence the need to apply modern technologies when tackling engineering problems.
“As we all know, society expects much from the engineering fraternity and the approach of innovation will enable us to provide solutions and impact the society positively,” he said.
He emphasized the urgency with which engineers in Kenya should adapt to new skill requirements.
“In our undertakings engineers, we ought to keep abreast with the new technologies in providing our services,” Engineer Gordon said.
On his part, Cabinet Secretary for Water and Sanitation Simon Chelugui hailed engineers for their role in addressing Kenya’s diminishing water resources.
The CS said the use of tunnels in water transport such as the Northern Collector Tunnel will contribute to efficient management of water resources.
“My ministry is currently undertaking various projects that involve use of tunnels in water transport such as the Northern Collector Tunnel Project, Itare Dam Project, Karimenu II Dam Project, Thwake Dam and Mwache Dam among many others,” the CS said.
The Northern Collector Tunnel which is said to be an example of iconic tunnel innovations in the region, is expected to contribute immensely to bridging the water gap in the country’s capital, Nairobi.
However, CS Chelugui said Kenya needs o develop a focused policy framework on the underground space planning, use and management that will ensure water reaches all parts of the country.
“To attain universal access by the year 2030, the country requires to invest Ksh 1.754 trillion meaning every financial year the sector needs Ksh 100 billion of which only about Ksh 45billion is available largely through donor funding,” he said.
Some of the challenges facing the water sector in the country which need to be addressed as a matter of priority include diminishing water resources, low funding, high Non-Revenue Water and governance.