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Developments along the shores of Lake Elementaita, Kenya


Description:

Lake Elementaita is listed as one of the Kenya Lakes System World Heritage Sites jointly with Lake Nakuru and Bogoria. It is also a Ramsar site, an IBA and is also protected as Widlife Sanctuary, hence the need to preserve the sites ecological intergrity.

In July 2013 concerns were raised by environmentalists and hoteliers regarding development at the South end of Lake by the Hot Springs and the Sentrim Hotels which is building within the boundary to Lake Elmenteita National Wildlife Sanctuary. If not stopped, the encroachment may lead to down grading of the status of the lake.

A World Heritage Site Forum visited the site following the concerns raised and observed the following concerns which are contrary to some of the EIA approval conditions: Some of the hotel cottages constructed right to the santuary boundary, with some on the lower side enchroaching into the santuary area. The area warden had previously informed the proponent of this concern.

The development has been undertaken with no provision for a buffer zone/ riparian area as required by law (Water Act etc) The swimming pool has been constructed next to the lake The pipes discharging liquid waste from the cottages, directed into the lake, this will lead to pollution once the hotel is operational Solid waste management was noted as a concern - waste from the construction site disposed next to the lake or spread by wind into the lake hence impacting on the birds/lake habitat.

These concerns were further forwarded to NEMA, NMK and KWS by the Bird Committee of Nature Kenya for Action. In response a team of experts from KWS,NEMA visited the site to investigate further.

Thereafter in September, a team from KWS did visit Lake Elemetaita with key stakeholders including NEMA and a way forward was deliberated. The purpose of the visit was to check on beacons and discuss the boundary including encroachments. The team noted one hotel that had moved the beacon and constructed structures partly in the Sanctuary. NEMA is coordinating the implementation of the way forward.

The National Liaison Committee on IBAs, organized by Nature Kenya discussed the issue in their meeting held in November and agreed that action needs to be tracked in order to conserve the site. The involvement of all stakeholders in solving the problems was also emphasized. Nature Kenya will lead other stakeholders in organizing a site visit as a follow up.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Developments along the shores of Lake Elementaita, Kenya
Country:Kenya
State or province:Rift Valley
Location of conflict:Nakuru
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Other
Specific commodities:
Biological resources

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Project area:1,800
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:40,000-60,000
Company names or state enterprises:Hot Springs Hotels from Kenya
The Sentrim Hotels from Kenya
Relevant government actors:Kenya Wildlife Service, National Environment Management Authority, National Museums of Kenya
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Nature Kenya; Bird Committee of Nature Kenya; Community Action for Nature Conservation; Friends of Lake Elementaita;Institute of Environment and Water Management; Wildlife Clubs of Kenya; Kenya Wetlands Forum

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Recreational users
government institutions
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Site visits and research

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases

Outcome

Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:Delineating the boundaries of the Lake informed by data o lowest and highest levels of the Lake waters.
Enforcement of Environmental Management and Coordination Act in terms of putting emphasis on review of EIAs for such development projects before approval.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Stakeholders are still holding discussions on action towards protecting the status of the lake, through controlling developments on the shores. NEMA is taking the lead since they are in charge of controlling development through reviewing EIAs. On the other hand Nature Kenya is keen to see that all stakeholders are involved and in following up/tracking action.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Environmental Management and Coordination Act; Water Act; Wildlife Conservation and Management Act; The Constitution of Kenya

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Minutes of the Bird Committee meeting held on 2nd July 2013.

Minutes of the National Liaison Committee on IBAs meeting held on 25th July 2013.

Minutes of the National Liaison Committee on IBAs meeting held on 14th November 2013.

Meta information

Contributor:Serah Munguti
Last update24/06/2014