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Changing the Narrative on Wildlife Conservation: Kenyan Conservancies Speak Out!

Communications experts and practitioners working in Kenyan Conservancies across the country unanimously agreed to work in a coordinated manner to change the negative narrative that has for too long time engulfed the conservation space.

This collaborative action was agreed at the first Conservation Communication Forum organized by Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association on 7th March 2019, at the African Wildlife Foundation. The forum brought together communication practitioners from over 20 conservancies in the country with an aim of brain-storming ways to correct the apparent “communication disconnect in Kenyan wildlife conservation” as well as create collective action and harmony to ensure that our national conservation effort is projected to the world with an improved perspective and through various media channels.

Communication experts listen in to the KWS Ag. Director General Prof. Charles Musyoki while delivering his speech at the Conservation Communications Forum in Nairobi

The negative publicity around conservation was majorly attributed to the competitive nature of conservancies for donor funding.  As a result, success stories such as: women shattering the conservation “glass ceiling”; the downturn in poaching; the recovery of vulnerable species; and the fact that Kenyans are at the helm of conservation; these themes barely see the light of day. In addition, seldom do the individual efforts of conservancies contribute to the national and international perspectives and messaging so important to the emerging national narrative on conservancies. Read more

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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: