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Illegal Water Abstraction Impacts Mount Kenya

 

Mt Kenya Water Abstraction

Mount Kenya’s moorlands is now littered with pipes used for illegal water intakes

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) joined the Mount Kenya Trust to survey water abstraction in the northern moorlands of Mt. Kenya.

The survey was conducted to look at compliance and how water abstraction is affecting the mountain.

The trip to the mountain revealed the discouraging state of affairs on water resource management in the most critical water tower in Kenya. The moorland, which falls under the supervision of Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service on Mt Kenya has witnessed increased human activity evident from numerous illegal water intakes constructed along the streams.

12 water intakes in a radius area of about 10 km were found during the survey. They sit between 3200 to 4000 metres above sea level. The highest water intake recorded during the survey was at 3987 metres above sea level – an indication that water users are going higher and higher up the mountain to abstract water.

Other key findings included construction of several water intakes too close to each other in the same stream. In one of the rivers, three intakes had been constructed within a two hundred metre stretch.  Moreover, the designs of these intakes do not allow the mandatory environmental flows downstream.

Springs and tarn are the major sources of water at the moorland. The numerous intakes are a threat to the existence of the tarns. They impact the ecosystem, the integrity of the watershed, and impact tourism and landscapes.

Furthermore, the moorlands are littered with plastic from water abstraction activities and routine maintenance.

Water abstraction , Water intakes, Mt kenya,

The intakes are also constructed too close to each other in the same stream

The intakes are connected to pipelines that snake their way down the terrain to serve the needs of users downstream in areas of Timau Sub-Catchment, and impact residents of Meru, Laikipia and Isiolo counties.

Water abstraction in the moorland puts pressure on the catchment and is not sustainable in the long run, says the MKEWP Coordinator, Stanley Kirimi.

Indeed, Mt Kenya is the most significant water tower as a source of two of six water basins in the country

The Coordinator adds, “There is need to contain the situation, rationalize the offtake of water, and to adopt common intakes for effective water resource management.

“Common intakes allow users to share the resource equitably, and allow the recommended 30% of the river to flow downstream as ‘environmental flow’.” This is a requirement of the Water laws.

All the illegal intakes fall within Meru County boundaries and are subject to the authority of the Regional Water Resource Authority in Nanyuki.

We visited the moorland and documented the water intakes in video below:

 

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MKEWP Gets a Communication Strategy!

MKEWP, LWF, Communication Strategy

MKEWP stakeholders discuss during the inception workshop for the Communication Strategy

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) is developing its first Communication Strategy.

MKEWP’s stakeholders met for an inception workshop to discuss the best way to serve the information and communication needs of its partners given their diverse nature.

The workshop was designed to develop a draft strategy to address the Partnership’s communication needs and lay the ground for a robust brand identity.

Stakeholders at the forum agreed on a strategy that will drive “effective communication to promote a sense of ownership and trust between MKEWP stakeholders.”

The workshop furthermore, presented a platform for discussions where the participants settled on structure for the strategy.

The communications strategy will complement the Strategic Plan which focuses on building stakeholder participation and coordination in its first five years. The strategy will also be key to the implementation of the Financial Sustainability Plan which gives realistic options on how the Strategic Plan can be financed.

The communication strategy provides a framework for MKEWP to address awareness, learning and knowledge management, advocacy, informed decision-making and triggering behavior change.

Stakeholders will meet to review the draft communication strategy before it’s presented to MKEWP Council in July for approval.

The secretariat’s communication department, led by LWF will play a central role in the implementation of the strategy over the next five years

The following partners joined MKEWP during the workshop:

Once complete the partnership will embark on implementation of the communication strategy to effectively address its diverse partners on outreach and mandate.

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Joint effort – A big win for Rugariga Springs!

MKEWP Water Resource Specialist James Mwangi joins the community in Teleswani for tree planting exercise to mark World Environment Day.

 On June 5th, LWF and the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) marked the World Environment Day in a tree planting exercise at Rugariga Springs.

The spring that gushes from the slopes of Mt Kenya, in Teleswani sub-catchment, was picked by the local community to undergo rehabilitation.  In recent years, the splendour of Rugariga has been threatened by deforestation.

MKEWP, together with Mount Kenya Trust, joined efforts to protect the sub-catchment. Through the Water Resources User Groups (WRUAs) and Community Forest Associations (CFAs), the Partnership mobilized over 400 community members and 100 school children who braved the morning downpour to participate in the exercise.

The exercise brought together members from Sirimon CFA, Teleswani community water projects, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Teleswani, Ngusishi and Timau WRUAs and pupils from Kirimira and Kiambogo primary schools.

In the end, 3500 trees donated by Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) were planted to protect the spring that supplies River Teleswani. 2500 of the trees planted were indigenous while 1000 were giant bamboo seedlings, which are planted to create a favourable habitat for spring and river protection.

Senior forester, Mr Simiyu, from Kenya Forest Service, noted that the tree planting was in line with government’s ambitious plan aimed at increasing the country’s forest cover from the current 7% to 10% by the year 2022.

World Environment Day

A Pupil from Kirimara Primary school plants a tree as community member looks on

Mr Simiyu, however, challenged the CFAs to nurture the trees. “Planting the trees here today is a mere 2% of our efforts, but taking care of them is a crucial 98%.” Addressing the incessant encroachment of the catchment, the authority requested the community to be vigilant in safeguarding the resource

As a measure to protect the young trees, Ontulili CFA Chairman, Mr Magiri, announced that grazing of cattle will longer be allowed in the catchment.

Protection of catchments in the area is crucial to the Partnership’s agenda, a reality that Water Resources Specialist, James Mwangi, says, “can be achieved through collective action and responsibility.”

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LTA Member – Il Ngwesi Lodge Takes Community Award at Sustainable Tourism Summit

Laikipia Toursim Association

Il Ngwesi’s Community Conservancy  is flanked by LTA’s secretary (Second Left) as he receives an award for their efforts in Skills Development For Economic Community Empowerment during the Green Tourism Summit.

Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) partnered with Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda (STTA) in June to host the fourth annual Green Tourism Summit. STTA is a private organization that advocates for sustainability and best practices in tourism.
The summit in Nyeri brought together tourism players from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Republic of South Africa to engage and share success stories on development of sustainable tourism in Africa.
LTA shared the Association’s plans to make Laikipia a model county for sustainable tourism through efforts between the County and the private tourism sector. It shared its progressive proposal for a public private partnership in Laikipia that would drive training, financing, and support to sustainable tourism enterprise. The Laikipia Sustainable Tourism Project Proposal can be accessed here

Part of the Summit was dedicated to an examination of wildlife conservancies that were recognized for leadership in accordance to the Summit’s theme “High Impact Social Development Programs by Conservancies/Ranches “.

Laikipia Tourism Association Secretary John Kingori shares with participants the associations experience in promoting sustainable tourism Landscape

LTA flagged three of its members for awards. Mugie, Ol Pejeta and Il Ngwesi Conservancies were nominated in the category of Skills Development For Economic Community Empowerment, competing against other conservancies in the Maasai Mara.
Il Ngwesi Community Conservancy stood out, winning the overall award in this category for its efforts to impact communities in seven neighborhoods.
These awards:
1. Identify, recognize and celebrate contribution to sustainable tourism and conservation.
2. Collect data and generate information for decision making in sustainable tourism
3. Raise awareness and promote sustainable tourism and transformative conservation.

The Laikipia Tourism Association supports social development programs by tourism providers as an indicator and measure of sustainability in the industry. Want to know more?? To become a member of the LTA, benefit from its services and access to information, or to find out more about sustainable tourism, contact LTA Secretary-John Kingori on cell: 0714797931 or email: john.kingori@laikipia.org,