THE WATER CRISIS: IS IT OUR BLUNDERS, OR, IS IT A REAL POINTER AND A FACT THAT WE ARE REELING THE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING. By Mungai

Is the world nearing it’s days of extinction, or, is it the mother nature that’s turning against us? If you happen to land in Nairobi you will be forgiven for asking a glass of water, why? Cause water happens to be a rare commodity in town. Danger signs are flashing everywhere. If we don’t get enough of the short rains in October, Nairobi will experience a water crisis of apocalyptic proportions.

Most water vendors are making a kill out of this booming water business where they are making good bucks.

The water sources from which Nairobi draw it’s drinking water have dropped drastically and in some parts of the city, residents are getting it once in 8 days. The situation is a grave one to an extent that water rationing has been the order of the day and most residents are forced to dig deeper in their pockets to buy this rare commodity.

The water reservoirs that hold water where Nairobi draws its water are having their water levels drop at alarming rates. The rivers, springs and tributaries that feed these water reservoirs have dramatically reduced their water volumes.

But just where did the rains go to?

This water crisis has also crippled the energy sector. One of the hydropower generating station, was recently closed after it reduced its water holding capacity, thus it couldn’t generate enough power. The energy generating company has signaled to its clients to brace themselves for higher power bills. The company is turning to other option of harnessing power.

This grave situation was attributed to the failure of long rains, ever changing weather and season patterns.. And, this is a real pointer and a fact that we are reeling the effects of global warming which is manifesting itself with adverse climate change.

Kenya’s story is that of nearly all of Africa. Question is, can we reverse the damage, save ourselves, our ecosystem and bio-diversity? The encroachment of human activities in our natural habitats has worsened this deplorable state, which has led to this serious confrontation with Mother Nature.

And, it’s quite unfortunate that this crisis is not getting the necessary attention it deserves. What has preoccupied the Government’s mind and grabbing our headlines? Are political shenanigan debates. The current debate on the conservation of Mau forest has been watered down by politics.

For quiet long time environment and founder of Greenbelt movement Pro.Wangari Mathaai had made it her duty to rally people, Government and the entire society to plant more trees, conserve the forests and water catchments areas and avoid wanton destructions of forests. But all that landed on deaf ears and as she usually said, nature is so unforgiving if you mistreat it.

The slow death of our environment is without doubt, one of the most important stories in Africa today. But, there’s only one problem; the environment might a matter of life and death. The picture emerging about the environment in Kenya is frightening. Every other day there is a newspaper article, or, TV feature clip about a lake that is drying, or, has dried up, with carcasses of crocodiles that used to live in the water littering land.

According to Prof. Wangari Maathai, digging boreholes is not a lasting solution to the water shortage. Sinking wells to deal with water scarcity is only a temporary answer and that it is only a matter of time before boreholes run dry if the wetlands are not protected. She linked the countrywide water shortage to the destruction of forests and wetlands. These are areas where the soil is partially wet throughout the year and a variety of plants grow. Wetland slows the flow of rivers, allowing water to pool into underground reservoirs and then flow to boreholes.

With Nairobi residents currently facing water shortage, ground water is becoming increasing important. She concludes that, there is no needs to dig a well that will dry up because there is no ground water.

And, it’s quiet unfortunate that the scenic water bodies in the Great Rift Valley are on the brink of oblivion. These Lakes which forms some of the most spectacular tourist attraction sites in Kenya do face a bleak future.

A combination of factors, including pollution, deforestation, land use changes and climatic change, has driven some of the lakes to the blink of oblivion. The disruption in the ecological balance has seen rivers dry up and led to the death of numerous animals. Lake Nakuru, which offer the most spectacle in the world, Lake Turkana, the biggest permanent desert lake, Lake Naivasha a fresh water lake, are under threat of drying up.

Fishermen and tour guides who depends on these lakes threatens to destroy the water body on which they depends on, and yet the bodies mandated to take care of the natural recourses aren’t doing enough.

PLEASE LET US SAVE AND CONSERVE THE MAU FOREST COMPLEX:

The current debate on Mau forest conservation, is been blown out of proportional by our politicians as they seeks political mileages and it’s not a bargaining matter. It’s either we do conserve the forest, which is one of the main source of water tower in the country, or we do perish.

The Kenya Government took the desperate measure to get “squatters” out of the Mau Forest, which the main beneficiaries of the forest are using the “squatters” as the scapegoats to derail the conservation. The government is bribing the “squatters” to get out of Mau, which has been turned into a wasteland over the last 20years.

The Mau forest complex is home to over 400 birds, 50 mammals, and 300 plant species. Almost all of the rivers in western Kenya that drains into Lake Victoria rely on it. Other lakes in Rift Valley like Lake Nakuru, Naivasha, Baringo and Turkana also rely on the forest for water catchments. Our tourism agriculture and energy sector rely heavily on the Mau. And, yet the forest is disappearing and soon could be extinct.

Truly the importance of the Mau forest cannot be overstated. Working together, we can help save this valuable resource for future generations. But saving the Mau is not just about the forest and water, or Lakes and rivers. It is also about the complex relationship between communities and their environment. We need to work together and involve communities in order to protect our forests.


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