Management of water towers in Kenya is bestowed on various institutions and organizations ranging from the public and private sector, national to county governments, national to international and other classifications. The mandates, interests and management strategies differ among these entities. The presence of multiple players in the management of water towers is a positive sign of the mutual interests and roles, but this makes coordination efforts and investments in the management, protection and conservation of the water towers uniquely significant. A coordinated approach could yield enhanced monitoring and evaluation, resource pooling, effective and efficient use of resources as well as governance.
Towards this end, the government established Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA) through an Executive Legal Notice No. 27 of 2012 to coordinate and oversee the protection, rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of all the critical water towers in Kenya. Close to 90 water towers have been identified, 18 of which are gazetted under the Legal notice.
THE MAU TASK FORCE
The Government recognized the threat to Mau and other Water Towers in 2008 and after a reconnaissance of these important ecosystems; the government formed a Task Force on the conservation of the Mau Forests Complex which included KFS, KWS, WRMA (currently, WRA) and key Ministries.
The Taskforce’s responsibility was to study and make recommendations to the government on the immediate, short- and long-term options for restoring the entire Mau Forest Complex and other water towers. The sustainability of Mau ecosystem would be secured by moving it from ‘single-asset’ system, where timber extraction, charcoal and human settlements are seen as the only real value of the ecosystem, to a ‘multiple-asset’ approach, which recognizes the wide variety of values of this ecosystem and diversifies revenue streams by capitalizing on ecosystem values, thereby maximizing both conservation and economic returns on the investment.