- He said that a tree planting drive in the catchment areas, which include Gatare and Kimakia forests in Murang'a county, is underway.
- The programme is being implemented by WRA and Waternet World under the Blue Deal Programme.
Government and stakeholders have embarked on a programme to restore the dying Thika River.
In partnership with Non-Governmental Organisations, the state has launched an ambitious programme to salvage the river.
The initiative has been labelled the Future Design Basecamp Programme, and is set to be replicated on other rivers, especially in Nairobi, once successfully implemented in the Thika River basin ecosystem.
The river is a source of water for domestic, agricultural and economic use for thousands of residents in Murang'a, Kiambu and Machakos counties and hundreds of factories.
It is, however, marred by a myriad of challenges that threaten its existence.
Industrial effluents from factories and raw sewerage from buildings around Thika are already choking the river. Hyacinth has also gobbled up huge sections of the river.
Water Regulatory Authority CEO Mohammed Shurie who spoke during the launch of the programme at Del Monte Kenya Limited on Wednesday, said the major issue that will be addressed is pollution, noting that all 'problem holders' and especially factories, will be engaged and be compelled to enhance their waste management.
"We are coming up with an action plan that will be implemented immediately to protect and conserve the Thika River Basin Ecosystem," he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Athi Water Works Development Agency CEO Eng Michael Thuita who said relevant authorities including the Kiambu county government and the National Environment Management Authority among others, will be co-opted to stem river pollution.
Embassy of Earth CEO Frank Heckman noted that they will also be addressing the reduction of water levels at the river which he noted has been largely caused by climate change and degradation of catchment areas.
He said a tree planting drive in the catchment areas, which include Gatare and Kimakia forests in Murang'a county, is underway as a measure to protect and conserve its ecosystem.
Grace Kuria, the chairperson of the Water Resources Users Association in Thika said they will be engaging residents upstream who are mainly small-holder farmers and the local community to sensitise on farming along the river riparian.
"Agricultural activities along the river have caused water levels to drop drastically and have led to the narrowing of the river. we will be reaching out to farmers and engaging them in conserving the river riparian," she said.
Del Monte Managing Director Stergios Gkaliamoutsas underscored the significance of the river saying it's a major source of water for irrigation for the multi-national fruit juice processing firm.
"As a company, we will actively participate in restoring and salvaging the river," he said.
The programme is being implemented by WRA and Waternet World under the Blue Deal Programme.
It is also supported by the Dutch-based Embassy of Earth, an NGO that is widely experienced in restoring rivers and deltas across the world.
-Edited by SKanyara