CEC member – Cecilia Muthoni Kibe
Environment & Climate Change
Physiographic and Natural Conditions
Physical and Topographic features
The County lies between 3,353m above sea level, in the West along the slopes of Aberdare Mountains and 914m ASL in the East. The western highlands have deep dissected topography and drain into various rivers. These rivers flow from Aberdare ranges to the West, South Eastward and drain into Tana River. The County’s geology and basement system comprises of volcanic rocks of the Pleistocene age and Achaean rock type respectively. The western part of the County bordering Aberdares is characterised by volcanic rocks while Eastern part is composed of the rocks of the basement system. Porous beds and disconformities within the volcanic rock system form important aquifers, collecting and moving ground water, thus regulating water supply from wells and boreholes. The County’s rugged, dissected topography and geology is both an asset and liability to the County’s development. The highest parts bordering Aberdares form the rain catchment areas, from where most of the rivers passing through the county originate. The volcanic rocks hence fertile soils result in thriving agricultural activities. The ecological conditions in the high areas provide a suitable environment for tea and coffee farming. However, this dissected topography causes gulley erosion and landslides hence construction and maintenance of bridges and roads are very expensive.
The county is composed of six agro-ecological zones. Zone 1 consists of the highest potential areas where forestry, tea and tourism industry are the major economic activities. Zones 2 and 3 are the lowlands east of Aberdares, which are generally suitable for both coffee and dairy farming. The flat area of Makuyu division in Maragua constituency is characterized by arid and semi-arid conditions. This forms the agro-ecological zones 4, 5, and 6. In these zones, coffee and pineapple plantations thrive under irrigation.
The County has three climatic regions: The western region with an equatorial type of climate, the central region with a sub-tropical climate and the eastern part with semi-arid conditions. Long rains fall in the months of March, April and May. April reliably records the highest amount of rainfall. The short rains are in the months of October and November. The Western region covering Kangema, Gatanga, and higher parts of Kigumo and Kandara, is generally wet and humid due to its proximity to the Aberdare Ranges and Mt. Kenya. The Eastern region, covering the lower parts of Kigumo, Kandara, Kiharu and Maragua constituencies receive less rain and crop production requires consistent irrigation
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