The Kenya Water Towers Agency is a State Corporation under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. It was established in 2012 vide Kenya Gazette Supplement No: 27, Legal Notice no: 27 on 20th April, 2012.
The Government recognized the threat to Mau and other Water Towers in 2008 formed a Task Force on the conservation of the Mau Forests Complex which included KFS, KWS, WRMA and key Ministries. The Taskforce’s responsibility was to study and make recommendations on the immediate, short- and long-term options for restoring the entire Mau Forest Complex and other water towers for the present and future generations.
The sustainability of Mau ecosystem would be secured by moving it from ‘single-asset’ system, where timber extraction, charcoal and human settlements are seen as the only real value of the ecosystem, to a ‘multiple-asset’ approach, which recognizes the wide variety of values of this ecosystem and diversifies revenue streams by capitalizing on ecosystem values, thereby maximizing both conservation and economic returns on the investment.
The report of the Mau Task Force was adopted by the Cabinet on 31 July 2009 and by Parliament on 15th September, 2009, and consequently an Interim Coordinating Secretariat (ICS) was establishment to Coordinate the implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force and to develop a framework for long-term measures to restore and sustainably manage the Mau Forests Complex and other water towers.
ICS made significant progress and achievements which included the recovery of over 21,000 hectares of forestlands; Marking boundaries of six forest blocks; Resource Mobilization, Strengthening the capacity of marginalized forest dwelling communities (Ogiek); Establishment of long term institutional arrangements, that included Water Towers Conservation Fund and establishment of a coordinating Agency.
It is from this that the Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA) was established to coordinate and oversee the sustainable management of all other water towers in the country and to provide a pivotal framework for the long term sustainable conservation and management of these critical natural resources.