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Causes of water shortage in Kenya


Date Posted: 1/20/2018 9:01:21 AM

Posted By: Faimus  Membership Level: Gold  Total Points: 1012

Recently a story on the shortage of water in Nyeri was aired on national television. Nyeri is a region which is found in the highlands and seeing the rivers found in the region running dry is something I'm sure not many of us would think of let alone believe. That is however the reality. This situation however goes a long way in showing that environmental conservation in Kenya is a common song which very few people understand. The big question however is what is responsible for the acute shortage of water in Kenya at large?

In the current decade, the real estate sector has witnessed a lot of growth. This is because the sector is one of the highest income generating ventures in the country hence many people who own pieces of land have been fully absorbed in the sector. This has therefore led to massive clearing of initially forested land to create room for the building of commercial and residential Estates. The clearing of trees has come with its own share of problems, the main one being shortage of water. The real estate market in recent times has expanded to regions just outside the capital, Nairobi. These same regions where investors have taken to are the catchment areas for the rivers that supply water to the county. It is therefore not surprising that Nairobi county is experiencing water rationing due to the low levels of water in Ndakaini dam, the city's main water source.

Agricultural activities especially growing of vegetables and fruits in green houses to supply to cities and towns is yet another reason for the acute water shortage in the country. Forest lands have been cleared to create room for the construction of green houses. This sector has attracted many people due to the super

normal profit margins the green house farmers get from supplying their products to neighbouring cities and towns. The conservation measure of agro forestry has been completely ignored as many find the measure a wastage of land that could have been used in expanding the green houses to generate even more income. Planting two tree once one has been cut is another conservation measure greatly ignored by these farmers. The clearing of forest lands in this regions has led to a decrease in the annual of rainfall received in those regions hence decreased water supply for both domestic and industrial use in those regions.

The mount Kenya forest has experienced a lot of illegal logging in the current decade. The mount Kenya forest is one of the main water catchment regions in the country. In the recent time, a lot of trees have been cut down from the region by illegal loggers to either sell the trees to companies that require trees such as Kenya Power and lighting Company for electricity poles or to burn the trees for charcoal. Some parts of the forest have also been cleared to grow drugs such as cannabis sativa. All this activities have greatly reduced the size of the forest which has in turn reduced the amount of rainfall received in the region hence there is insufficient water to sustain the ever growing population that depends on water from the region.

However, Kenyans are not entirely responsible for the shortage of water in the country. The shortage can also be attributed to the long drought that was experienced in the country recently. The drought, whose main cause is said to be global warming, led to hiking of water prices to fifty shillings per twenty litre in many cities and towns due to the acute shortage of water. The water supplied was not clean and thus not safe for human consumption. In rural regions, people had to walk for miles searching for water as all the seasonal rivers in most regions had dried up and the permanent rivers which are very few in the country had very low water levels. Boreholes and wells had also run dry worsening the situation. This drought not only accounted for massive loss of livestock among pastoralist communities but also led to loss of human live due to lack of water.

Having experienced the fatalities of water shortage, the country needs to take action to solve this problem. The best solution is afforestation and reafforestation and creation of forest reserves. This will lead to creation of new catchment areas as well as the conservation of the already existing ones. This will go a long way in solving the problem of water shortage. Another solution is improving water storage during the rainy season through building of concrete tanks or storage of the water in plastic vessels such as cans, drums and tanks. This will ensure availability of water during the dry season. Industrial fumes and gases should be converted into less harmful forms since these gases are the main contributors of global warming due to green house effect. Global warming is famous for causing droughts hence conversion of the gases to harmless forms will play a role in ensuring water sufficiency in the country. There are many solutions to the problem of water shortage in the country and the government should focus on making strides to ensuring water sufficiency in the country through these and many other measures.

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