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Kenyan loss of Eco System threatens economic growth: official

by Peter Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s ecosystem is undergoing serious degradation that also threatens the country’s economic productivity, a senior official said Thursday.

Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, said deforestation that remains the greatest threat to the country has impacted negatively on the quality and quantity of water flowing downstream.

"We are now enlisting the services of the private sector to help restore the ecosystem and in the process improve economic growth," Wakhungu said during the launch of a partnership for sustainable restoration of Mount Kenya forest ecosystem.

She said that the low economic growth has resulted into budgetary constraint as the country’s economy depends on tourism and agriculture that are heavily supported by the natural resources.

Wakhungu noted that the condition has forced the government to allocate little money to environmental conservation programs.

"Climate change and human activities are to blame for the degradation of the water catchment towers," she noted.

Nature Kenya Executive Director Paul Matiku said over the years there has been a decrease in water volume due to forest cover loss in Mount Kenya.

"Hydropower and water abstraction reservoirs have become silted with sediments, significantly raising water treatment costs," Matiku said.

Rapid urban population growth and unprecedented industrial activity have further increased water stress levels.

He called for swift attention to help the ecosystem recover the lost glory, adding that the region provides water to key national parks, generates half of the country’s total hydropower, and supplies 95 percent of Nairobi’s water.

Financial Director of Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) Kinya Kimotho announced 80,000 U.S. dollars to support the initiative.

The support will go alongside forest restoration and will lead to the planting of over 100,000 trees around Mt. Kenya and Upper Tana River ecosystem in central Kenya that holds one of the key pillars to Kenya’s economic development.


Kenya plans reuse of wastewater amid quick urbanization

by Peter Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya said Wednesday it has set plans to better re-use urban wastewater as its cities grow bigger.

Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa said the country’s current water management systems are unable to cope with the faster-growing cities.

"We are set to use multipurpose technologies for water re-use and recovery of useful products," Wamalwa said in a statement to mark World Water Day.

He said the government was determined to keep the Indian Ocean clean by properly using the wastewater that can still be treated for recharge and irrigation purposes.

Wamalwa said the byproducts from the domestic wastewater such as salt, nitrogen and phosphorous have potential economic value ad will be used in improving livelihoods.

He also blamed uncollected garbage, industrial waste and overflowing sewers for the pollution of urban rivers that also spread waterborne diseases to the unsuspecting water users.

Kenya’s water supply coverage has improved nationally from 56.9 percent to 58 percent during the 2015/2016 financial year, according to the ministry.

The country is also in the process of marching sewerage coverage by new water supply since sewerage coverage currently stands at 25 percent.

The ministry is constructing larger water reservoirs, boreholes, earth dams and water pans across the country to help raise per capita water storage capacity.

"We are applying water-saving technologies such as drip, sprinkler irrigation for upland crop cultivation and water-saving paddy cultivation," Principal Secretary for Irrigation Patrick Mwangi revealed.

He said that the available water resource for irrigation that currently stands at 22,564 million cubic meters per year is projected to increase to 26,634 million cubic meters per year in 2030.


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