Kisumu and Siaya counties join hands to conserve water towers

Kisumu and Siaya counties are set to work together in conserving water towers under a special programme called , and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.

The programme aims at improving the quality and quantity of ecosystem services and mainstreaming of climate change in county planning.

The Deputy Director National Climate Change Directorate under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Eng. Omedi Jura said the programme was key in protecting the counties from potential disasters that affect people’s life like floods, drought, erosions and pollution.

Speaking during a two day workshop in Kisumu that brought together officials in charge of Water, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources from the two counties, Eng. Jura said the programme, which was supported by the European Union, targeted 11 counties across the country.

The programme, he added, incorporates other initiatives that aimed at conserving the environment such as the Green Energy programme.

Other counties, included Bungoma, Trans Nzioa, Nairobi, Murang’a, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Kakamega, Homabay and Laikipia.

Kisumu and Siaya were ranked 2nd and 4th respectively in efforts being made to mainstream climate change in County planning.

Eng. Omedi said County governments were key in enhancing the success of the programme given that most of the projects under it had been devolved.

He further observed that there was need for institutional capacity building, including awareness creation and partnership building to help roll out the programme to all the 47 counties.

According to County Integrated Development Programme (CIDP) 2013 � 2017 Review report, Kisumu County has 10 gazetted water supplies, 15 community water supplies, 40 boreholes, 70 shallow wells and 7 water pans. This gives the county a total storage capacity of 3,752m3 with a total pipe network covering 763km serving a population of 25, 000 directly.

Siaya County has two major rivers: River Yala and River Nzoia with about 24 existing water supply schemes. These water supply facilities provide water to about 396, 000 people in the county.

However, Siaya is short of piped water and residents often obtained water from open dams, water pans, shallow wells and streams.

The Director in charge of Water, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Gabriel Oduong said it was important for the two counties to competitively work together because they shared similar challenges arising from environmental degradation.

He cited water hyacinth in Lake Victoria as one of the many challenges that needed concerted efforts to solve while Kisumu County Director of Environment, Loice Omullo said they would cascade the program to sub county levels to ensure that public participation was enhanced.

She challenged residents of the two counties to support the programme and be free to present new ideas, seek clarification and even advice.

Among the projects that Kisumu County has already undertaken with regard to Water Tower Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programme, include Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) Phase II, Promotion of farm forestry, Flood control and Drought mitigation and Water harvesting for food security.

Siaya County has similar projects including Lower Nyanza irrigation project and afforestation projects and the two teams agreed that working together was necessary in achieving quality ecosystem services and conserving the environment for favorable climatic conditions in the two counties.

Kisumu County Chief Officer in charge of Energy, Dr. Lonah Omuodo said the county had made significant progress in conserving the environment by encouraging use of green energy to minimize pollution that is emitted by fuel and gases.

She added that despite a majority of Kisumu residents using firewood and charcoal for cooking and paraffin for lighting, her office was committed to turn things around by ensuring sufficient supply of energy particularly through use of solar energy devices.

According to Omedi, the programme would see all the water catchment areas and wetlands in all the identified counties protected and conserved.

Among the earmarked areas are Mt. Elgon, Chereng’any Hills, Got Abiero and Ramogi forests.

Source: Kenya News Agency