Prof. Julius Tanui, acting Director General of Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA) has handed over the fencing site officially to the contractor at Maasai Mau. Top Choice Surveillance Limited will fence off a section of the water tower from Sierra Leone through Chebitet to Masaita area, a distance of 30 kilometres at an estimated cost of 80 million.
The Agency has planned to put up an electric fence round the entire water tower covering a distance of 119 kilometres. The intermediate fence will prevent future encroachments into the water tower, allow natural regeneration to take place, mitigate human wildlife conflict and reduce illegal extraction of natural resources. The fence is estimated to be complete in the next eight months as the Agency seeks more funding for the remaining 89 kilometres.
“We started by fencing Aberdare Ranges now Maasai Mau and will continue to fence off Cherangany Hills, Mt Kenya, Mt Elgon and Marmanet water tower”, Prof Tanui while addressing a baraza at Sagamian. He was accompanied by the Narok South Deputy County Commissioner Mr Felix Kisalu, Joint Enforcement Unit Commander Mr David Mutoro and senior government officers from both the national and county government of Narok. The team planted tree seedlings at the forest border at Sierra Leone where the fence will start. Two community barazas were also held at Sagamian and Soogoo centres attended by village elders and senior community members.
“Let’s work together and ensure that we fully engage the local communities” said Mr Evans Achoki the County Commissioner for Narok County. He further urged all stakeholders to join the conservation efforts being undertaken by the government at Maasau Mau.
The fence comes a year after the government launched an ambitious 10 million three programme that has seen about 1.5 million tree seedlings planted and an additional three million seeds poured on the ground using the aerial seeding technology. The Agency is calling upon stakeholders to adopt a block of 100 hectares for 100,000 seedlings or a kilometre of fence estimated at 2.5 million.
In 2018, under Phase I reclamation exercise, 4,500 hectares of forest land were recovered from areas that included Kass FM and Kosia in Maasai Mau. The following year 2019, under Phase II reclamation, the government further recovered 17,101 hectares comprising Kamwengoi, Siera Leone, and Kipchoge areas. Therefore, the total area under rehabilitation is approximately 21,000 hectares. Maasai Mau was the most encroached water tower of the 22 blocks of the Mau Forest Complex Water Tower.
The Mara-Serengeti transboundary ecosystem relies heavily on the Mara River whose origin is the Mau Forest Complex, with the largest tributary, being the Amalo River that originates from Maasai Mau Water Tower. The ecosystem supports wildebeest migration, a renowned tourist attraction phenomenon classified under UNESCO as a world heritage site and the eighth Wonder of the World.
The entire Mau Complex Water Tower is a major catchment for 12 major rivers namely: Sondu, Mara, Nyando, Yala, Ewaso-Ng’iro, Molo, Njoro, Nderit, Makalia, Naishi, Mumberes and Nzoia. The rivers feed three lakes in Kenya: Turkana, Baringo and Nakuru as well as two trans-boundary lakes- Natron and Victoria.
The Mau Forest Complex spreads across Baringo, Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru, Narok and Uasin Gichu counties. It comprises twenty-two blocks namely Eastern Mau, Western Mau, Transmara, South West Mau, Maasai Mau, Tinderet, Mau Narok, Molo, Eburu, Ol Pusimoru, West Molo, Southern Mau, Londiani, Mt Loldiani, Kilombe Hill, Maji Mazuri, Timboroa, Lembus, Nabkoi, Metkei, Chemorogok and Northern Tinderet.