NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 23 – Encroachment and logging are the major threats facing water towers in the country, according to Kenya Water Towers Agency.
This was revealed through a report by the Kenya Water Towers Agency on the situation of Chyulu and Mau water catchment areas.
The report was presented to Environment Minister Keriako Tobiko on Friday, who said the ministry will move with speed to see that proper interventions are made to safeguard the water towers.
“It is true that we are facing a very serious threat to our water towers, at the moment the country is facing serious drought and water shortage and this is because our water towers have been interfered with. On my part, I’m going to convene a consultative meeting with the relevant stakeholders in this docket so that we can agree on the measures we are going to put in place to protect our water towers,” said Tobiko.
The chairman of the board Isaac Kalua said the challenges facing water towers can be easily addressed if the laid down policies are implemented.
“The various challenges we have in our water towers can easily be sorted out by ensuring that there is enhancement of policies and continued adjustment of policies to fit our current challenges and situations that we have at the moment. The other one is continuous engagement with all stakeholders,” he said.
Kalua said if proper measures are not put in place to protect water towers there is going to be reduction of forest cover as well as biodiversity.
From the report, Chyulu Hills which supplies 15 per cent of water to Mombasa County has been encroached by the Maasai and Kamba communities.
The Kamba collect firewood, burn charcoal and practice farming and on the other side Maasai practice grazing.
According to the report, if mitigation is not done, the growing population of the two communities poses a threat to the future of Chyulu water tower.
The same issue is witnessed in Mau, where the Eastern part of Mau has been occupied by the Ogiek Community which has approximately 100,000 households, and this has led to a decrease in forest land.
In both water towers they established that licensed millers have been harvesting timber in regions they are not allocated.
Some of the millers also do not replant trees as they are required.
Some of the recommendations made in the report include developing water towers conservation strategy, water towers to be fenced with bamboo, increase capacity to oversee and manage water towers at all levels, and promote sustainable charcoal production among others.
When Tobiko assumed office, he put on notice millers who harvest trees beyond the required quarters saying their licenses will be revoked.