By Kipchumba Kemei
Kenya and Tanzania will spend Sh978 million in the improvement of the Mara River Basin infrastructure.
The project, whose implementation will start next year, will include catchment reforestation, soil conservation structure, and multi-purpose water storage reservoirs.
The Regional Co-ordinator, Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme, Antoine Sendama, said on Wednesday during the closure of the one-week 2012 inaugural Mara Day celebrations in Narok that the Mara River Basin was facing increasing climate change stress and vulnerability.
“The climate change will affect our way of life and the way we order our society. It threatens the very foundation on which our economies rest,” said Sendama.
He added that the change would imperil food, water and energy security, and would subject communities to higher temperatures, droughts, floods and variable rainfall.
“Each of the changes will affect our ability to grow the crops we need and the vulnerable in our society will bear the brunt,” he said.
Sendama said enough has not been done in terms of commitment and strategy to bring that to a halt with time rapidly running out.
Sendama said that when Nelsap was formed ten years ago, Mara River was identified as one of the transboundary River Basin Management Projects to be prepared and implemented under the program.
The programme’s objectives, he said, include ensuring household food security, improving farmers’ income and alleviating poverty through increased access to water for household consumption and agricultural production.
The official said on achieving the River Basin conservation and rehabilitation, new projects including the multi-purpose projects of Tanzania irrigation and watershed management projects in Gucha-Migori and Yala-Nzoia would be unveiled.
He said the Program is promoting co-operative management of shared water resources in a bid to demonstrate benefits of co-operation and small-scale investment projects.
The World Wide Fund for Nature Country Director Mohammed Awer said sustainable solutions towards the conservation of Mara River Basin should be put in place, adding that the Transboundary Management Authority should be strengthened within Kenya and Tanzania, which share the resource legal framework.