The Board of Kenya Water Towers Agency has retreated to Naivasha to review the Kenya Water Towers Bill, 2019. The Bill seeks to enhanced the mandate of the Agency in coordinating water towers conservation. “Being a body created to fill the coordination gap that existed before 2012, the Bill is aimed at strengthening the mandate of the Agency by anchoring it in law and transitioning it into an Authority”, Dr Julius Malombe, Chairman, emphasized.
The Bill clearly cuts out the role of the Agency in coordinating conservation of water towers working closely with other agencies like Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, County Government of Narok among other players. “If the Bill is enacted, water towers are going to be safeguarded against destruction from human-economic activities like roads, dams, and farming. This is because anyone wishing to undertake any activity in any gazetted water tower must seek authority from the Kenya Water Towers Authority.” Prof Julius Tanui, Ag. Director General.
Among other important changes to be brought in by the Bill is the requirement to submit annual water towers status report to the Parliament of the Republic of Kenya. The report will provide detailed ecosystem health status of every gazetted water tower in Kenya including the challenges facing them.
Upon the board’s nod, the Bill moves to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry’s Desk for his remarks then subjected to public participation and Attorney General before proceeding to the
Parliament for review by the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. The process culminates in Parliamentary debate. If the Bill successfully goes through these stages, it will be taken to the president for accent.
The legal framework is being fronted at the time when water towers are facing several challenges that include illegal settlements, charcoal burning, illegal logging and several other conservation challenges. The Agency has just completed reclaiming twenty-one hectares in Maasai Mau that had been illegally inhabited by encroachers. Currently, indigenous tree planting exercise is ongoing as Survey of Kenya team finishes boundary realignment. Thereafter, the Agency is going to erect an electric fence from Sierra Leone to Nkareta, a distance of 50 Kilometres.