Counties get Sh132m to protect water towers

Winstone Chiseremi @Wchiseremi

Eleven counties from Rift Valley and Western regions will benefit from a Sh132 million grant from the European Union (EU). The funds aim to support the country eradicate poverty through enhancing productivity of ecosystem services and sustainability of water resources.

Speaking at an Eldoret hotel during a one-day workshop on protection and climate change mitigation programme, Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet secretary Judi Wakhungu, said targeted counties would receive Sh12 million each in the four-year programme.

Action plans She said the EU and the government would be investing in two ecosystems through the water programme, where members of the communities living near public forests get the opportunity to participate in conservation and sustainable use of natural resources to improve their livelihoods.

The CS said despite the country boasting of a rich natural resources base with five major water towers, Mt Kenya, Mau Forest Complex, Aberdare Ranges, Chereng’any Hills and Mt Elgon, it was among countries still classified by the United Nations as water scarce.

Wakhungu attributed this to inability by water towers’ ecosystems to provide critical services in quantity and quality because of deforestation, encroachment for settlement, charcoal burning and overgrazing among others.

She challenged beneficiary counties to develop community action plans which will be funded through the devolved units’. “Communities will be supported to implement livelihood activities which will raise their standard of living and support conservation of natural resources,” she said.

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