NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 1 – Implementing partners of the European Union funded Water Tower programme are raising concern over the adverse impact of human activity and climate change on Kenya’s wetlands as drought sweeps through the country.
Wanjiku Manyatta, the Coordinator Water Tower Programme says soil erosion, over-fishing, grazing and pollution threaten the future of wetlands and exacerbate the impact of climate change.
Among other objectives, the Water Tower programme aims to support community-based actions to build resilience to climate change.
Wanjiku points out that wetlands are being destroyed at an alarming rate and has stressed the urgent need for the fragile ecosystems to be restored.
“Wetlands support various key economic pillars such as water services, agriculture and tourism. Human activity and the undisputable threats of climate change will adversely affect the wetlands and the economic and social wellbeing of Kenyans,” she said.
She was speaking in Trans Nzoia County where implementing partners of the Water Tower programme joined other stakeholders and members of the community in cleaning up the Saiwa wetland on the eve of the World Wetlands Day.
The theme for this year’s World Wetlands Day is Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Trans Nzoia is one of the 11 Counties that will benefit from the EU supported Sh3.6bn Water Tower Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programme launched on June 23, 2016.
County Governments will be supported to activate communities to rehabilitate, reclaim and restore the Mount Elgon and Cherangany Hills ecosystems through ecologically and economically sustainable land use systems.
The Water Programme is complementing other EU supports to build resilience and mitigate drought impacts, such as Drought Contingency Fund implemented by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA).
The Water Programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MENR), the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Water Tower Agency (KWTA) and the Climate Change Directorate (CCD).