Cases of pasture, water disputes rise as pastoralists, wildlife invade farms in Naivasha

Men illegally herding cattle as elephants walk by at Mugie Ranch on February 3, 2017. [Suleiman Mbatiah, Standard]

Cases of disputes over the sharing of water and pastures in Naivasha have risen in the last few months due to the ongoing drought.

The situation has been worsened by an influx of pastoralists from neighbouring counties in search of water and pasture.

Naivasha assistant county commissioner Mutua Kisulu confirmed the drought situation, terming it as very serious though no human deaths had been reported.

Kisilu added that the situation had been worsened by an influx of tens of pastoralists from neighbouring counties who were seeking pastures for their livestock.

“The drought situation in Naivasha is bad with wildlife invading nearby farms and destroying crops at a time when many families don’t have a source of food,” he said.

He identified the most affected areas as Moi Ndabi, Longonot, Mai Mahiu, Ndabibi, Karati, Munyu, Kiambogo and some estates around Naivasha town.

The commissioner said that they were keenly monitoring the current situation and working with KWS in dealing with the wildlife menace.  

“We have had incidents where members of the public have killed wildlife that strayed into their homes and KWS and other State agencies are looking into this,” he said.

Kisilu added that the majority of wildlife were outside the two parks leading to the current crisis with some of the animals straying into nearby highways.

This came as it emerged that nearly all the major rivers have dried up due to the drought and massive abstraction in the catchment area.

As a result, the illegal abstraction had adversely affected communities living downstream according to the Lake Naivasha Water Resource Users Association (LANAWRUA).

According to LANAWRUA chairman Enock Kiminta, the drop in water levels had been caused by the ongoing harsh weather conditions.

“At the moment the farmers in the catchment area are using the water for overhead irrigation and this is very dangerous,” he warned.

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