Groups in Kenya’s horticultural hub receive Ksh1.5m equipment to boost water monitoring
Industries, rising population and climate change are piling pressure on water availability across many towns with the critical resource becoming increasingly a scarce commodity.
In horticultural hubs like Naivasha where dozens of farmers are using various farming techniques, including farm chemicals to grow their crops, water quality can be greatly compromised as some of these chemicals and heavy metals find their way into nearby rivers and lake.
Further, a lot of water is abstracted for irrigation leading to water scarcity.
To guard against such bottlenecks, local water users in Naivasha have established Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) to address such challenges.
Enoch Kiminta, The Lake Naivasha Basin WRUA chairman, however, said that addressing issues of water quality and quantity can be difficult unless the locals have the right equipment to do the job.
On July 2, 2021, nine WRUAs based in the Lake Naivasha Basin received a number of river health assessment equipment from World Wide Fund for Nature- Kenya (WWF-Kenya) in a joint initiative with TESCO, the leading horticultural outlet in United Kingdom which sources foodstuffs and flowers from Naivasha, among other areas.
The equipment worth KSh1.5 million will support the initiative whose aim is the establishment of a citizen-led data collection and monitoring of water quality within rivers in the basin.
Among equipment donated to the nine WRUAs are scooping nets, sorting trays, Dissolved Oxygen meters, PH kits and Turbidity Tubes.
Speaking during the ceremony, WWF-Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Awer, said that that water from Lake Naivasha, which is mainly supplied by River Malewa, is an important natural resource in the area.
The horticultural produce from the basin contributes nine per cent of the Kenya’s foreign exchange earnings which is about three per cent of the Kenya’s GDP.
“Because of the opportunities in Naivasha, there’s increasing population as people and businesses move toward the town which eventually exerts immense pressure on natural resources such as water,” said Mr Awer.
In 2009, the lake receded by nine metres to the extent that large growers were digging trenches up to six kilometres to the highest water point and that was a wakeup call for the growers to begin to engage the authorities, action that led to the development of a water allocation plan.
The WWF-Kenya boss said the equipment donated to the WRUAs will help in providing a water monitoring mechanism to ensure that there is compliance with water allocation and supply.
“We are very glad to receive the equipment. We are now fully armed to collect data, monitor pollution in our rivers so that we can influence policies concerning water resources management” said Mr Kiminta.
The Lake Naivasha WRUA chair said that the right data will inform decisions to hold to account those who are polluting the rivers.
As the region develops, many factories are cropping up in the upper catchment, he explained.
“Some of these factories are using heavy metals to process their products and these heavy metals are finding their way into the rivers. Without such equipment that we have received today, we cannot know what kind of pollutants are finding their way into the rivers,” he added.
The local community is regarded as the first line scientist and involving them in data collection will enable them understand the need for collective responsibility, according to according to Dr. William Ojwang, WWF-Kenya’s Kenya Rift Lakes Programe Manager.
“The main goal of this project is the establishment of a citizen-led Naivasha Rivers Health Assessment (RHA) framework for the improvement of water quality and flow in the basin, leading to increased freshwater ecosystem health and business resilience,” said Dr. Ojwang.
Original Source Website: : https://www.pd.co.ke/news/groups-in-kenyas-horticultural-hub-receive-ksh1-5m-equipment-to-boost-water-monitoring-84111/