Eldoret Water and Sewerage Services Ltd (ELDOWAS) has embarked on planting at least one million tree seedlings on a 6000 acres of land in different forest within the North rift region.
ELDOWAS Managing Director Mr. Kibet Biwott said the organization has risen to the occasion to preserve the water catchment areas as they were forced to solely depend on Chebara dam producing 41.3 million litres per day out of the expected 60 million litres to cater for 424,000 residents of Eldoret.
The organisation has planted trees in Kaptagat Forest which is part of the Cherangany complex water tower and has put in place mechanisms for proper management of the forest to ensure it is protected and conserved.
“We have forest stations within the Kaptagat catchment, Sabaor, Kaptagat, and Emon that will work closely with the community forest association to ensure water tower is sustainably managed,” said the MD.
Biwott underscored the importance of conserving Kaptagat forest observing that unplanned harvesting and wanton destruction of indigenous trees in the recent past had forced ELDOWAS to shut down one of its water treatment plants at Kapsoiya whose source was Kaptagat for lack of water.
“Our Pombo reservoir no longer receives enough water because the rivers and streams supplying it have dried up due to destruction of the forest. This led to the closure of Kapsoiya treatment works because it no longer received enough water from the reservoir,” he explained.
The importance of water as a resource cannot be overemphasized, conflicts have been known to erupt because of water scarcity that is why we need to re-afforest and conserve our major water towers to ensure that the residents of Eldoret town and its environs received sufficient water supply,” stressed Biwott.
Recently ELDOWAS joined United Nations global compact with the aim on environmental conservation and provision of high quality services when it comes to preservation and sanitation services.
The MD called on transplanting trees that will increase the forest cover and in the end conserve the catchment areas. The clarion call of the organisation is Linda Maji Mtaani and Linda Maji Viwandani which will preserve the little water resulting from the drought season.
“We recently launched Eldoret inaugural conference in conjunction with Eldoret City Marathon with key mandate on mitigating climate and preserving the environment. Each athlete plants a tree to commemorate their running and this has increased the forest cover to 10% upfront 8.2% and the county targets further raise the forest cover to 15%,” added Biwott.
The county has partnered with schools and various corporates to bring about a collaborative effort towards environment conservation.
Biwott said they were now on initial phase of tree planting through the County’s Linda Maji Initiative and would continue with this good cause even in the coming years.
Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) Managing Director Sammy Naporos reiterated on their commitment in environmental conservation indicating among the major activities they undertake is honey and mango juice production and without trees this activities will be hard to achieve.
“Our trees are being cut down and mostly the endangered indigenous trees that are key to our environmental preservation and our business as well,” Said Naporos
According to Naporos, many locals still depend on firewood as a source of energy putting the forest at risk.
“As KVDA, we are at the forefront educating the community on the importance of forest conservation and tree planting and we have put forward an alternative biogas use among the locals as an alternative source of energy,” explained Naporos.
He informed the organization is undertaking several projects in line with environmental conservation. They are working on agroforestry for food security, household income and conservation. About 5million assorted fruit seedlings are set to be planted within the larger NOREB region.
“We have adopted Kipkabus forest for purposes of conservation by utilisation of bamboo seedlings and we are set to plant one Million seedlings once the rain seasons commence,” said Naporos.
The organization has geared up support to various schools and organized groups which is undertaking conservation and through them 200 thousand seedlings have been distributed for planting.
As the world grapples with the effect of global warming as a result of destruction of the environment, KVDA is also in the forefront conserving dryland and through promotion and multiplication of the aborea seeds.
Legendary athletes led by Kipchoge Keino indicated that sporting activity especially athletics is only possible in a well conserved environment.
“It is fun, enjoyable to run in a forest area. One takes in clean oxygen and as a result, the altitude favours the athletes in proper training and eventually winning as we have shown in our past local and international excellent performance,” noted Kipchoge.
Long distance marathon Legend Eliud Kipchoge said that when athletes train in a good environment, they are able to perform well due to fresh oxygen intake especially in a forest dominated area.
“Let’s ensure we keep our environment safe. Let’s plant trees both at home and catchment areas,” said Kipchoge.
The Kaptagat forest conservation is critical not only in Uasin Gishu and NOREB region but also the western region that depends on this source for livelihood activities.
By Hassan Adan Ali