By Sharon Atieno

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Kenya and its partners have launched a three-day awareness-raising campaign for water in Naivasha under the theme: Water is everybody’s business.

The campaign, running from 23rd-25th May, focuses on reminding the public of the incredible and challenging journey that water travels to get to their taps.

This #JourneyofWater campaign seeks to persuade the public and private sector to become responsible custodians of this essential resource, which everybody depends on.

Further, it will highlight the path and the numerous threats that River Malewa, one of the most important rivers in the Lake Naivasha basin, encounters from the upper catchment (upstream), midstream to downstream (lower catchment), emphasizing the need for all beneficiaries to protect, preserve and sustainably manage water resources in the Basin.

Participants attending the campaign

River Malewa provides about 90% of the water flowing into Lake Naivasha with the remainder coming from Gilgil River. Rising in the western slopes of the Aberdare Range, it flows south and west into Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley.

The headwaters of the main channel of the Malewa originate at an elevation of 3,700 metres (12,100 ft) in the Nyandarua (Aberdare) mountains. Its tributary the Wanjohi is fed by several small streams running from the slopes of the Aberdare. Other tributaries are the Turasha, Simba, Nyairoko and Ol Kalou. The rivers in the Malewa basin are relatively shallow but are all perennial.

The river is threatened by deforestation and siltation, increasing diversion of water for irrigation (over-abstraction), and pollution by fertilizers and pesticides. Water conflicts are also common. These threats have affected the river’s water quantity and quality.

The #JourneyofWater #RiverMalewa campaign brings together different stakeholders including the public, government agencies and community led organizations. These include farmers, local chiefs, members of Water Resource Users Association and Community Forest Associations, officials of Water Resources Authority, Nakuru County Government, National Environment Management Authority, Lake Naivasha Water Resources Users Association members among many others.