"Taking a new dimension in accompanying rural populations on water catchment protection"
Water catchment protection is imperative in the sustainability of water resources. Water catchment areas feed the system with water. In the past years the importance or the importance of protecting these delicate areas has been ignored. Reason why many communities have faced rampant water shortages or disappearance of water sources after some years from the time of realization of the water supply project.
Since 2012, Caritas Kumbo came in with another sub programme to the water supply programme termed Accompanying Rural Populations In The Diocese Of Kumbo On Water Systems Management and Water Safety Measures. A very important component of this accompanying phase of the Water Supply Programme is accompanying the various water projects on water catchment protection.
This has taken the form of community education and sensitization programmes on the importance of water catchment protection, the procedures of water catchment protection and consequences of unprotected water catchment areas, some of which were already prominent in some of the water project areas.
For the past years, awareness on water catchment protection has been created in all the water project areas.
Besides just being aware of the importance of water catchment protection, a majority of the water projects have engaged in protecting their water catchment areas though at varying levels. While some communities are advanced in catchment protection as they have completely restricted trespassing of the catchment areas and planted water friendly trees which are some of the first and important steps in catchment protection, some are still facing acute challenges in the stopping human and animal activities in these catchment areas. However, there is no standstill situation as all the communities are undertaking actions to protect the water sources.
Caritas Kumbo apart from education and sensitization has also provided seedlings of water friendly trees to all the water projects for planting in the water catchment areas since 2015. This has been made possible with financial support from Misereor and the Diocese of Limburg. Caritas Kumbo has continuously carried out follow-up visits to monitor the progress of catchment protection in the communities, assist in sorting out their challenges and iterating the importance of this activity.
Recently, Caritas Kumbo took a new dimension on the area of water catchment protection. Instead of providing water friendly tree seedlings for the communities to plant or education and sensitisation, the concept of establishing tree nurseries for water friendly trees was established in the present phase of the water supply programme. Since this is a new idea and these communities have limited knowledge on tree nurseries, a workshop was organized and three delegates from all the 16 phase three water projects and trained on how to set up tree nurseries. This training workshop took place from the 19th to the 21st of March 2015 at the Saint Jerome’s Biblical and Pastoral Center Kumbo. This workshop was used as an opportunity for the people to know the various water friendly trees and the importance of trees not only to water resources but to the environment as a whole as the program also hopes to pass through catchment area protection and encourage environmental protection throughout Kumbo Diocese and why not beyond.
The workshop also provided a golden opportunity for the participants to have a practical experience of a water supply project that has failed because the people did not take into consideration catchment protection at the initial point. The water supply project in question has about five water sources and was established over 30years ago but presently the community is experiencing an outrageous water shortage. Given that the present phase is still very recent and is not likely experience such situation any time soon and so will not picture the importance of what is being tabled to them, it was important that they visit such a project.
While at catchment and with the knowledge on water catchment area protection they already have, the workshop participants were able to on their own identify the different problems with the said catchment area and associate the problems to the negative consequences that have rendered the water project a failure.
Thanks to financial support from our partners Misereor and the Diocese of Limburg Caritas Kumbo is able to assist the phase three water projects with seeds of water friendly trees and polythene bags for setting up tree nurseries for their water projects. We equally appreciate the local contribution of the various communities as they provide the local materials for construction of the nursery sites and the necessary labour for setting up and catering for the trees and out planting into the catchment areas when the seedlings are due. We also thank our executing partner KATA for their continuous technical support.
Caritas Kumbo will stop at nothing to ensure sustainability of the water supply systems in her program and beyond. Our dream is to use the water catchment areas to bring back the natural indigenous forests that are fast disappearing from our local communities and to reduce the effect of climate change in our locality.