A group of pastoralists walked for more than 200km in a bid to raise awareness on the dwindling volumes of water at the Ewaso Nyiro River.
The more than 150 herders — from Isiolo, Samburu and Laikipia counties — trekked for five days to the finish point at Ewaso Nyiro Archer’s Post bridge while others arrived on camels on Friday, having travelled 240km.
The group are part of an n initiative dubbed Camel Peace Caravan Walk that seeks to create awareness among locals on need to conserve the water resource that is a source of livelihood to many pastoralists.
The herders say the river whose source is at Aberdares requires urgent conservation measures, otherwise it will dry up.
The project is funded by a number of NGOs key among them Danish International Development Agency (Danida), Cordaid, Wetlands International, Catholic Diocese and the National Drought Management Authority among others. The county governments from the affected counties are also part of the project.
LOSS OF WATER
Merti Integrated Development Programme coordinator Abdullahi Shande said the river is the lifeline of the pastoralists downstream and their study shows its volume had reduced to alarming levels over the last 10 years.
“The herders are a worried lot because the water does not last more than three months before it dries up.
“This initiative is aimed at appealing to Kenya and international community to help conserve the river,’’ said Mr Shande.
Upstream and mid-stream, the herders want authorities like Water Resource Management Authority to check activities of large and small scale farmers along the course.
“From Nyahururu, Nanyuki, Timau and parts of Isiolo, the river and its tributaries had been diverted for use by farmers and even the army and we want the issue addressed,’’ said the NGOs in a joint communique.
The herders have also raised concern over the proposed construction of a Sh10 billion dam along the river at Crocodile Jaw in Isiolo’s Oldonyiro division by the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation (NWCPC).
OWN THE PROJECT
The herders claim they had not been informed of the project. The twin dams, according to NWCPC will be set up to provide water to the proposed Isiolo Resort City, to be set up at Kipsing Gap.
In a 2015 workshop in Isiolo, the corporation Managing Director, Petronilla Ogut urged the stakeholders to support and own the project, but locals maintained that the implementation of the project will affect the livelihood of pastoralists.