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.