Kenya Launches Fund To Conserve Source Waters For Eldoret And Iten

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The Kenyan government has set up a fund to finance the conservation of the Cherangany, Elgeyo Hills forests, and the Northern Mau in the North Rift.

The critical water towers supply water to the cities of Eldoret, Iten and surrounding communities.

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has committed Sh260 million, channelled through the Ministry of Environment & Forestry, for the establishment of the Eldoret-Iten Water Fund (EIWF) to be managed by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for three years.

Dr. Chris Kiptoo, the Principal Secretary for Environment and Forestry, today said the launch of the project comes at a time when Kenya is experiencing serious and prolonged drought in many parts of the country and warns that the situation could get worse if efforts were not galvanized to accelerate the conservation of threatened forests and major water towers.

"The ravages of drought and hunger across many parts of the country can only get worse as conflicts over pasture and water, human-wildlife conflicts, disruption of learning in schools, and forest fires increase," he said.

Kiptoo noted that the three water towers in the North Rift have been experiencing heightened deforestation, expansion of unplanned farming activity and continued degradation of catchments and wetlands.

"These destructive approaches are putting a strain on the sustainable supply of high quality and quantity of water for industry and communities, thereby threatening peaceful coexistence, agricultural potential, sports tourism, biodiversity, and livelihoods." Dr. Kiptoo added.

The Eldoret-Iten Water Fund is a collective action mechanism which brings together business, government, local communities, and public sector financiers to harness resources to finance long-term investments in nature-based solutions.

It is also a payment for ecosystem model requiring water users in cities to pay for the conservation of the upstream forests, wetlands and farmlands that regulate and filter the water reaching their taps.

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