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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

WRMA official urges communities to protect riparian and catchment areas

By Bob Aston
Sipili Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) members have been urged to be at the forefront of protecting riparian and catchment areas. Speaking during a capacity building workshop on October 15, 2014 organized by Sipili WRUA and Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre in Laikipia West, Mrs. Rahab Nyururu from WRMA said that members of Sipili WRUA need to understand aspects related to catchment conservation.
Mrs. Nyururu said that conservation of riparian land has been addressed through Water Resource Management (WRM) rules 2007.
Mrs. Nyururu addressing participants during the workshop
She said various activities have been proscribed on riparian land that include; tillage or cultivation, clearing of indigenous trees or vegetation, building of permanent structures, disposal of any form of waste within the riparian land, excavation of soil or development of quarries, planting of exotic species that may have adverse effect to the water resource or any other activity that in the opinion of the Authority and other relevant stakeholders may degrade the water resource.
“There may be site specific catchment areas that need to be identified, mapped and assessed. These areas are smaller than the sub-catchment and may be related to springs, micro-catchments, hilltops and swamps,” said Mrs. Nyururu.
She urged Sipili WRUA to engage in activities that lead to conservation of riparian and catchment areas. She noted that the establishment of a tree nursery, afforestation and reaforestation and farm/ protected area can go a long way in protecting riparian areas.
She said that a well vegetated riparian area will protect the river bank from erosion and collapse. This protects the land and helps protect the water quality. She added that protecting riparian areas also retards floods which can have a destructive impact downstream.
“Riparian reserve is important to the water resources because it reduces runoff and soil erosion from going directly into the water course and it also acts as a buffer zone to trap the runoff water and soil erosion,” said Mrs. Nyururu.
She informed Sipili WRUA to start a pegging exercise of riparian and catchment areas.  She said this can be done through dialogues and agreement with land owners as to reason for pegging and also plan with them the best use of riparian land in a way that is consistent with best practice.
“The government requires those that have riparian land to be good custodians of the land in order to protect the water resources,” said Mrs. Nyururu.
She also called for demarcation of riparian lands for easy management. She said that the radius of riparian land adjacent to eye of a spring, a lake, reservoir, stagnant body of water and land on each side of a watercourse has been addressed through various water laws while the water resource inspector can also determine the radius of riparian land.
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