When I was growing up as a young boy down the slopes of Aberdare ranges, I used to swim in Chania river which was risky but I could always sneak to join the rest of the boys. The main river was divided to Chania river and Sasumua river which feed Sasumua Dam that supplies water to part of Nairobi. Its saddening what I saw over my December holiday, the permanent river, it became seasonal and now there is no water. Water is one of the most precious resource that all living organisms cannot do without. Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Water is the driving force of all nature.” It is true to say that our existence on earth would not be possible without water. It is the heartbeat of the existence each and every living thing on the earth.
Therefore, it should be our moral standard to ensure that we conserve water especially its catchment areas as well other sources. It is however regrettable that our normal daily habits, especially on our land, has led to drying up of the main and local water sources. Saddening scenes have been shown on the rate at which our rivers are diminishing each year. Big rivers have been reduced to streams while the streams are now seasonal.
To start with, a common practice that has led to the diminishing of once roaring and feared rivers in Kenya is clearing of vegetation along the river banks for cultivation. The fast-growing population and demand for space to settle is a huge problem that our country faces at the moment. An obvious example is the deforestation of the Mau forest. The forest was a home and a water tower to many rivers. However, the invasion of human beings seeking space for settlement has reduced the once lively forest rivers to small streams that are fading away. Soon we will be talking of the rivers that faded into oblivion.
Another activity that is consuming up our rivers is the poor land use. The government has buried its head in the sand and has failed to see the rate at which the poor land use is hurting our rivers. For several years now the art of land use has always been done the wrong way. The science of regulating as well as controlling the planning how land is used has failed miserably. It is, therefore, a wakeup call for the government to move swiftly and enact tough legislation that regulates the way land is used. It is either we totally stop this tide of land use or it will come haunt us in the near future.
Climate change is another factor that is drinking away our rivers. Pollution has plunged the country into the high demand for water. Water towers are drying up due to the high rate of evaporation that has our rivers hardly hit. It has been reported that the rise in temperatures over a few recent year has been at an alarming rate. The East African countries are the ones affected the most.
Another factor that has also been attributed to drying up of our rivers in the recent past is the plantation of water guzzlers. These trees drink away the water catchment areas exposing the vegetation around them at risk of dying up. Such trees gulp a lot of water through their extended roots. The government should discourage the plantation of such trees in order to save our water towers.
The above factors are among the many other human activities that pose a great risk of losing our rivers permanently. In this regard, we should, therefore, be on our toes to save our future.
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