As the debate on the evictions in Mau continue hitting the headlines, the Tharaka Nithi County Government has undertaken measures to curb the negative effects of climate change that is sweeping across the country.
The County Chief Officer (CO) for Environment and Natural Resources, Ms. Gatiiria Njagi said the county government will provide proper tree seedlings for afforestation and reforestation near river banks where the eucalyptus trees that drain water need to be replaced.
The Chief Officer noted that in most cases, the rivers are drying because of ignorance due to lack of civic education and more so their tendency to plant eucalyptus trees that have a high affinity for water along river banks.
“We will support our people with proper tree seedlings to plant in the coming rainy season and will also take action on those who have planted eucalyptus trees along river banks because this is the cause for many streams and rivers drying up and lack of water in the lower sides of our county,” stressed Ms. Njagi.
The CO who was presiding over a Water and Climate Workshop held in Chuka town Thursday said by irresponsibly failing to heed to advice to plant trees and planting the eucalyptus along river banks, the people make it difficult to harvest water for both irrigation and domestic use.
“It is self-defeating to ignore advice from environmentalists over simple issues like planting trees and desisting from encroaching river banks and then crying foul that the government is doing nothing to provide water to its citizenry. Does the government have water of its own?” posed Ms. Njagi.
She said as much as it is the people’s right to water it is also their responsibility to conserve the environment which can only be achieved by serious aggression in planting trees and desisting from encroaching water towers and river banks.
Similar sentiments were echoed by the Meru South Sub-County Water Officer, Ms Margaret Wairimu who disclosed that most of the farmers who have been provided with water for irrigation act irresponsibly by leaving water spilling in their farms without control.
Wairimu noted that if those involved in irrigation could take the responsibility to harvest rain water and share with the rest of the community, then the shortages in domestic water during dry spells could be easily addressed.
“During rainy seasons most of the people don’t harvest water which is actually clean and better for domestic use and can also be used for irrigation during dry spells. We should learn to take advantage of every situation that we are in and not only rely on the rivers alone,” said Water Officer.
Several participants had asked the county government to support them with the trees that are beneficial to them and maintaining the rivers. They had also noted that the law against planting of eucalyptus along river banks should be implemented rather than remain a chorus to be sang year after year.
By David Mutwiri