Article by Annalise Williams (St. Lawrence University intern with LWF)
“Where will we get our water?” “From the mountain, of course,” replied our laughing guide. A four day trek up Mount Kenya allowed us to see firsthand the prominence of the Mount Kenya watershed. With the ever increasing development of Kenya, the region has seen a series of challenges that endanger the availability of water. Overgrazing, illegal logging, and climate change are just a few examples of the many dangers. Over seven million people rely on this watershed to survive, and for this reason the shortage of water has not gone unnoticed. Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) is one of several organisations working to improve water resource management in the county. LWF has aided in developing 23 Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs), has worked to train and better inform its members, and also improve sub-catchment plans.
Anther organisation directly involved in water resource management on Mount Kenya is the Mount Kenya Trust (MKT). Gwili Gibbon, a conservation biologist at MKT, said, “Our focus is currently on securing the water catchment areas through the establishment of local community sourced patrol teams and working closely with KWS, KFS and Rhino Ark to ensure catchment areas are not lost.”
Although these two organisations are both exemplars of water resource management, perhaps more important than any individual organisation, is the collaboration of these groups. It is only through shared labours that large scale progress can be made. Cooperation and unified effort is how the Mount Kenya watershed will be sustained, and it is how real change will be made.