The Star (Nairobi)

3 June 2012

Kenya: Warma Support for Mau Conservation

AS more partners join efforts with the Kenya Forest Service to increase the country's tree cover to 10 per cent, Water Resources and Management Authority has added its feather to save the streams of the Amala River which feeds the greater Mara River.

Mara River then drains to the Lake Victoria South Catchment Area. WARMA which is mandated to regulate and protect water resources from adverse impacts, has spent Sh 1.5 million to afforested the 10 hectares of the degraded riparian land within Kibooyet Block 7 of the Mau Forest which surrounds the river.

Under the this year's theme: 'Water catchment is life, lets conserve it,' WARMA chairman Francis Nyenze says conserving the main estuaries could save the country from the dangers of the water scarcity in the near future. In partnership with other actors in conserving the natural resources in the country including KFS and Mara River Water Users Association,WARMA says it will mobilise for the communities surrounding the wetlands concerted efforts to safeguard the river sources. "We must never overlook the input of the communities neighbouring the water catchment areas. If they keep on cutting the trees while we up our planting efforts, then it makes no difference," said Nyenze.

Speaking during the planting of the trees at the Kibooyet Block 7 of the Mau Forest, Nyenze warned against the longterm adverse effects of deforestation on the water catchment regions. "In the next century we will not have Lake Natron, Turkana, Baringo, Naivasha, Nakuru and Victoria if we keep on clearing our forests. Without the trees we are encouraging siltation: floods of sands will be raging into the lakes rather than water. Let's be keen with conserving our major catchments areas including Mau Complex Forest," said Nyenze.

He regretted that the pace and severity of destroying the Mau Complex is worrying and warned communities against ignoring the importance of the trees in balancing the county's ecosystem. "It is a crime to farm along riparian land. A distance of 20 - 30 meters around any river should be kept free of any human activities. Riparian land protects rivers from adverse effects like sedimentation resulting from soil erosion," noted Nyenze.

Philip Olum, WARMA's Chief Executive Officer called for the establishment of more Water Resources User Associations to promote effective sustainability of the water resources. "We encourage other effective Water Resource Users Associations to be formed. They will greatly boost the integrated management of land, water and other related biological resources," Olum said.

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