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County to enact laws to protect water catchment areas

Deputy Governor Mathew Tuitoek

Baringo Deputy Governor Mathew Tuitoek has blamed encroachment and human activities along rivers for the lack of water in rural and urban areas.

He said the county government now plans to enact laws that will protect all water catchment areas, both in rural and urban centres.

Mr Tuitoek said the fast growth of major towns like Kabarnet, Kabartonjo, Marigat, Eldama Ravine and Mogotio had became a big threat to the few watering points.

“Some developers have encroached into protected areas by putting up facilities. This has interfered with the flow of water in our rivers. We need to come up with tough laws to safeguard such places,” he said.

He was speaking during the official opening of Water Resource Management Association (Warma) Lake Baringo-Bogoria sub-regional office in Kabarnet.

Mr Tuitoek regretted that water in most springs in the county had drastically reduced due to uncontrolled agricultural activities within the fragile eco-system.

Warma Chairman Peter Kiilu warned people living in towns to ensure rivers and lakes are not used as dumping sites.

Mr Kiilu reiterated the need for county governments to establish new laws governing water sources, saying the current laws, which were established under the defunct local authorities have been overtaken by time.

 CONFLICT RESOLUTION

“There is need for amendments to the laws to seal loopholes that gave leeway to illegal land and plot speculators to encroach wetlands,” said Kiilu.

He expressed concern over cases of inter-community conflicts, especially among the pastoral communities that emanate from water points,  saying water was a natural resource that should be shared and used freely by everyone.

“Residents should avoid fighting over water bodies because it is a natural resource that God gave us for free,” said Kiilu.

Warma Chief Executive Officer John Olum urged the county governments in the region to collaborate with the National Land Commission to identify, demarcate and clearly mark boundaries of water catchments to keep off land grabbers and encroachers.

“If we do this, we will not only ensure we have enough water, but also end conflicts,” he said.