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Kenya vows to protect water towers

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – The government on Wednesday said it was working on restoring Kenya’s five main water catchment areas as one of the permanent strategies to ensure sustainable water supply throughout.

Speaking during the launch of a report of the Water Services Regulatory Board, Water and Irrigation Permanent Secretary Eng David Stower said the government would push for an aggressive re-forestation programme.

“The genesis of our problem is a lot to do with the way we have taken water, destruction of our forest cover, and then we find ourselves caught up with issues of global warming. We should begin with the restoration of our major water catchment areas,” he said.

Kenya has Mau forest, Mt Kenya, the Aberderes, Mt Elgon and the Cherengany Hills as its main water sources.

To boost the long term measures further the PS said the government was also constructing eight dams with capacity to control flooding as well as hold water for use during crisis.

He said though the target was to complete them after five years, at least half of them will be ready for use by January next year. Mr Stower added that the government was working with partners to fund the Sh60 billion projects.

Currently, most of Kenya’s dams have low water levels, while some have been shut down for lack of the commodity. The water shortage has also contributed to a countrywide power rationing programme.

Mr Stower said the government was working to revive stalled irrigation schemes as a means of mitigating the food shortage. Additionally, 250 boreholes will be sunk throughout the country.

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