Environment stakeholders in Baringo have blamed the failure to map out and beacon water catchments areas in the county for the continued encroachment into streams and rivers leading to their drying up.
The Director of Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) Marigat station Simon Choge stated that unrestricted human activities in such gazetted and ungazetted lands will destroy water towers in the near future if unchecked by relevant government agencies.
Mr Choge who was speaking during a county tree planting campaign on Tuesday at Ensoo Spring in Ewalel Chapchap Ward of Baringo Central urged the county government to begin mapping all streams in the county in order to protect and discourage neighbouring residents from invading such critical natural resources.
He noted that the county was blessed to have a Geographical Information System (GIS) laboratory where they can do an inventory and categorize all streams in the seven sub counties to enhance conservation efforts of water catchment areas as well as forests.
“If we can categorize these water catchment areas, we shall have enough water benefiting our people who are also living at the lowlands,” he said.
The KEFRI Director stated that through mapping, local residents as well as other stakeholders can participate in conservation efforts in a more organized manner.
Baringo County Ecosystem Conservator Bernard Orinda encouraged area residents living upstream and downstream to take the greatest responsibility in safeguarding resources that will benefit them as well as the neighbouring institutions and social amenities.
Mr Orinda accompanied by Chief Officer for Environment Richard Rutto added that the residents should not relent in reporting individuals causing destructions to such resources to the relevant authorities so that they can be dealt with accordingly.
He pointed out that if stakeholders relax on conservation efforts it will derail some of the gains the county has made in becoming amongst the top three counties in the country with a high forest cover.
Area MCA Peter Kebut in a rejoinder asked the officials in the department of water to do beaconing and fencing of such areas as a way of curtailing encroachment.
Mr Kebut also recommended that youth from villages adjacent to vital catchments be employed as scouts to boost conservation efforts because they can better identify members of community who are notorious in destroying the environment.
Local community representatives reiterated the need to employ community scouts to guard the 100 acres Ensoo catchment area donated by elders of the community in 1969 for them to feel they are part and parcel of the conservation measure.
They also requested environment department to facilitate them establish tree nurseries within the catchment where they will seed more trees for planting and selling to members of the community.
By Benson Kelio and Joshua Kibet