Conservation a top priority, says Ongwae

Kisii governor James Ongwae during a clean up at Riana River last year./FILE
Kisii governor James Ongwae during a clean up at Riana River last year./FILE

The Kisii government will invest more in environmental conservation for sustainable development, Governor James Ongwae has said.

“The time has come for the county and other stakeholders to make bold decisions to address the environmental challenges that threaten development in the region,” he said on Thursday.

Ongwae addressed 300 members of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association, Kisii branch, during their annual delegates conference in Nakuru. Ambassador Sam Ongeri and Senator Janet Ong’era were present.

Ongwae cited the reducing water levels in major rivers, the drying up of springs and boreholes and destruction of water catchment areas as the signs of a looming environmental crisis.

“Over the last four years, we have invested heavily to improve water supply for our people.

Initially, We focussed on spring protection and rehabilitation of stalled water schemes before embarking on drilling boreholes. However, these water sources are drying up. Out of the 30 boreholes we have drilled, 10 dried up, while six are productive. We must address this,” he said.

Experts attribute degradation to the indiscriminate cultivation of the blue gum tree, encroachment of water catchments and riparian land, pollution, improper solid waste management, destruction of wetlands and poor agricultural practices.

“We need a new, dynamic approach to conservation that allows nature to adapt to a changing climate if we are to realise sustainable development. If I am reelected, I will dedicate more efforts to environmental conservation and management,” Ongwae said.

He defended his development record, citing improvement in the health sector, disbursement of bursaries to needy students, securing funding for the construction of a sugar factory and cancer centre and opening up roads.

Ongeri challenged the school heads to be champions of the new transformative curriculum.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star