Water Tower Tide Turns

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems
19 January 2010

Economies everywhere continue to dismantle the productive life-support systems of planet Earth, and Mau is no exception.

Mau, is the largest indigenous forest in East Africa, covering ± 270,000 hectares, and is Kenya’s critical ‘water tower’. Over the last two decades, the Mau Complex has lost around 107,000 hectares – approximately 25% – of its forest cover, which has had devastating effects on the country as a whole; including severe droughts and floods, leading to loss of human lives and livelihoods, crops and thousands of head of livestock.

Mau Deforestation. Photo by 'Threat to Democracy' under Creative Commons Licence 2.0

Findings of a government-led Mau task force showed that continued destruction of the forests will inevitably lead to a water crisis of national and regional proportions that extend far beyond the Kenyan borders; but Mau is now emerging as a possible inspiring example of how the tide can still be turned in favour of biodiversity and sustainable ecosystem management.

Taking steps to restore its diminishing water towers, and address rapid environmental degradation, 20000 tree seedlings were planted on 20 hectares as part of a tree planting drive in the Kiptunga area of the Mau Forest Complex.

Restoration will also take place in Mt. Kenya, Aberdares, Mt. Elgon and the rest of Kenya’s forests and water catchment areas with the aim of increasing the forest cover from the current 1.7 percent to 10 percent by the year 2020.

Source: United Nations Environment Programme

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