TVETs Team Up To Rehabilitate Degraded Water Towers

Students from technical institutions in Mount Kenya Region have teamed up with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to rehabilitate degraded water towers through an afforestation programme.

The students plan to plant 350,000 tree seedlings this year, having commenced the initiative at Tumutumu Hills in Nyeri County, where they have so far planted more than 20,000 trees.

Some of the hills targeted in this restoration campaign have been degraded over the years due to invasion by charcoal burners and illegal harvesting of trees for wood fuel and timber.

One of hills targeted in the restoration initiative is Lusoi Hills in Laikipia County that was once a wildlife habitat with numerous water springs, but which was degraded and left bare following invasion by residents of the neighbouring Solio Settlement Scheme.

Conservationists have managed to plant 450,000 trees in the last five years in an initiative conducted by the local Community Forest Association but most parts of the 700-acre hill, once a dense forest, remains

The students plan to plant 30,000 indigenous trees in an effort to revert it to its original status of being a water tower and turn it into a wildlife conservation site once again.

Mt Kenya Environment champion Edith Karwitha, a tutor who is leading the students in this initiative said they have targeted five water towers in the region for rehabilitation.

‘The purpose of this exercise is to create awareness about environmental conservation since with climate change we need to be proactive for the future generation,’ said Karwitha.

KFS Director in charge of Laikipia Paul Ng’ang’a said there are nine Government Tree nurseries and asked institutions and individuals to get the seedlings free of charge to help in increasing the forest cover from the current 10 percent to 30 percent by 2032.

‘We have a long way to go aiming at achieving our target of 30 percent by 2032 and we have to team up with stakeholders. If we continue planting trees we will reach our goal,” said the Conservator, adding that in La
ikipia county, the government is expected to plant 37 million seedlings annually.

Laikipia Deputy County Commissioner Joshua Marete who participated in the two-hour tree planting exercise up the hill said the function had officially kicked off tree planting campaigns in the county and asked each individual to plant at least ten tree seedlings during the current rainy season.

Source: Kenya News Agency