By JOB WERU
The Nature Conservancy announced that about Sh85 million ($10 million) would be spent in conservation activities along the basin to avert degradation, siltation and deforestation of the catchment area.
Almost half of Kenya’s population depends on Tana River for water.
Mr Collins Apse from the organisation said the funds would be used in planting seedlings in the catchment areas, which are mainly the Aberdare and Mt Kenya forests, as well as involve local communities in the activities.
Said Apse: “The river is faced with threats, among them deforestation of the catchment area through erosion, degradation and other human activities.”
Water Minister Charity Ngilu through a representative said the Government was committed to put in place long-term measures to conserve the river.
She observed that the Government was implementing several flagship projects, under Vision 2030. These include rehabilitation of Kenya’s hydrometrological network, construction of two multipurpose dams and 22 medium-sized multipurpose dams, construction of Rahole Canal, rehabilitation and expansion of Mzima pipeline and the Tana Delta project.
Tana River is termed Kenya’s lifeline in water provision, since it provides water to most communities living in Central, Eastern and Coast provinces.
The river is also used in hydropower generation in the seven-folk system, supplies Nairobi with piped water among other upstream and downstream communities, as well as use in irrigation projects in Mwea, Bura and Hola.
It is also a recreational hub used for canoeing, rafting and bungee jumping in Kirinyaga County.