Land agency to issue title deeds for water catchment areas

The National Land Commission will issue special title deeds for all water catchment areas in Lamu County to protect them from grabbers.

Addressing journalists at the SunSail Hotel in Lamu town on Saturday, commissioner Silas Kinoti said seven key water catchment zones had been identified and efforts to secure them are under way.

They are: Shella sand dunes, Kiongwe sand dunes, Mbelembele Swamp, Chomo Swamp (in Hindi), Lake Kenyatta (in Mpeketoni), Amu Ranch and Kibokoni Ranch. They are all located in Lamu West.

“It has come to our attention that water catchments in Lamu are at risk of being grabbed while others have already been grabbed by individuals. All these catchments need to be protected since they provide adequate fresh water for the thousands of residents of Lamu County,” Mr Kinoti said.

Mr Kinoti observed that grabbing of water catchment areas has become rampant countrywide and the only solution is to map them out and gazette them.

The agency has already directed the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) to work with the county government to know other catchment areas for conservation, before the NLC begins gazettement and issuance of title deeds.

He lauded the county administration for making strides in the preparation of the County Spatial Plan.

“I am impressed by the Lamu County Government. It is the only county that has so far taken a bold step to prepare the County Spatial Plan. Our advice is for the county to consider catchment areas in their spatial plan.

“The catchment areas need to be surveyed and their boundaries marked clearly on the ground. As NLC, we are ready to ensure title deeds are issued to the relevant groups or agencies in charge of such wetlands so that they are preserved and protected,” he added.

He urged other counties to emulate Lamu’s development.

Mr Kinoti’s sentiments come days after NLC concluded looking into the alleged grabbing of Shella and Kipungani sand dunes.

The full report will be released in the next two weeks.

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