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Stop encroaching on rivers, Nakuru farmers told

Nakuru farmers have been urged to stop encroaching on riparian land and to leave a 30-metre distance between their farms and rivers.

County Commissioner Loyford Kibaara said the protection of water catchment areas and riparian land is crucial for the livelihoods of all Kenyan households.

Mr. Kibaara stated that the diminishing levels of water on the planet are due to human activities along the riparian land and the planting of a high number of trees that have a high affinity for water.

He was speaking in Kabatini ward, within Bahati-Sub-County, during a tree planting exercise that was graced by Governor Susan Kihika and defense Principal Secretary Patrick Maruti. 

“Our aim as a government is to educate farmers on the need to conserve the environment and protect our riparian land. Water levels in our rivers are going down due to farming activities along the rivers,” Mr. Kibaara said.

The administrator observed that Water Service Providers (WSPs) draw the commodities for human consumption from the rivers and dams.

He added that the state was sensitising farmers to farm at least 30 metres away from river banks and to plant friendly crops.

“Due to human encroachment on rivers, the water levels have gone down. We are urging farmers to keep off rivers so that they do not dry up,” Mr. Kibaara said.

He stated that buffer zones are necessary since the environment has continued to be contaminated and destroyed and there is a need for concerted effort to protect the rivers.

The County Commissioner stated that riparian areas are crucial to Kenya’s development.

He added that the tourism and energy sectors were heavily dependent on them.

Mr. Kibaara observed that prolonged droughts, flash floods, and famine experienced in some parts of the country highlighted the need to protect the environment.

The administrator regretted that crucial catchment areas are disappearing due to unsustainable human activities.

He noted that Kenya has adequate policies to protect the environment.

Some of these policies include the Water Act of 2016, which prohibits the occupation, development, and encroachment of riparian land.

There is also the Forest Conservation and Management Act of 2016, which prohibits development within 30 metres of a forest reserve.

Thirdly, there is the Physical Planning Act of 2019, which outlaws development within 30 metres of a water body.

Mr. Kibaara underscored the importance of planting and tending trees, adding that they prevent soil erosion and maintain biodiversity.

By Anne Mwale 

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