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Saturday, 28 May 2016 09:16 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
The Kenya Forest Service plans to plant 39 million tree seedlings in the North Rift this season, the organization has announced.
KFS head of conservancy in the North Rift, Dedan Ndiritu, said the seedlings, in tree nurseries distributed across the region in KFS and stakeholder tree nurseries were ready for planting and asked residents to take advantage of the current long rains to plant trees on part of their land.
Out of the 39m seedlings 7m will be planted on 5000ha of government gazetted forests while the remaining will be planted on farms outside gazetted forests, said Ndiritu on Friday during a tree planting exercise sponsored by the Eldoret water and sewerage services[ ELDOWAS] at Kaptagat forest.
Kaptagat forest is part of the Cherangany complex water tower, and KFS has put in place mechanisms for proper management of the forest to ensure it is protected and conserved, said the conservator.
“We have three forest stations within the Kaptagat catchment, Sabaor, Kaptagat and Emon that will work closely with community forest associations to ensure the water tower is sustainably managed”, he said.
In his remarks, ELDOWAS chairman Cornelius Chepseba underscored the importance of conserving Kaptagat forest observing that unplanned harvesting and wanton destruction of indigenous trees in the recent past had forced ELDOWAS to shut down one of its water treatment plants at Kapsoiya whose source was Kaptagat for lack of water.
“Our Pombo reservoir no longer receives enough water because the rivers and streams supplying it have dried up due to destruction of the forest, this led to the closure of Kapsoiyo treatment works because it no longer received enough water from the reservoir”, he explained.
The importance of water as a resource cannot be overemphasized, conflicts have been known to erupt because of water scarcity that is why we need to re afforest and conserve our major water towers to ensure that the residents of Eldoret town and its environs received sufficient water supply, stressed Chepseba.
A study done in 2010 indicated that Eldoret town required 35,000 cubic litres of water daily, Chepseba said, but because of population increase, the town currently requires an estimated 70,000 cubic litres a day to adequately serve the residents.
3000 seedlings were planted on a 10 acre parcel within Kaptagat forest during the Friday exercise.