One of the best ways to protect our rivers is by ensuring that people don’t build on river catchment areas. River catchment areas tend to be quite delicate. This is especially the case for rivers whose original catchment areas are mountain springs, those that emanate from forests and those that rise from riparian zones. But most people are not aware of the delicate nature of river catchment areas. Given a chance, some people will go ahead and build on such areas – without caring about what happens to the rivers downstream. Therefore certain measures have to be taken, to ensure that people don’t build on river catchment areas.
One way to ensure that people don’t build on river catchment areas is through legislation. That is by putting in place a law that makes it illegal for people to build in such areas. This should entail lobbying the legislators, to place such a law on the legislative agenda.
Another way to ensure that people don’t build on river catchment areas is by simply fencing off the river catchment areas, and turning them into ‘protected zones’. Then people who trespass into the said river catchment areas can be held to account.
Yet another way to ensure that people don’t build on river catchment areas is by educating them — so as to get them to understand why they shouldn’t build on such areas. People are generally good and rational — and if they are shown why something isn’t in their best interests, they will tend to avoid it. I experienced this first hand when CVS was introducing its online HR portal: which is also known as myhr CVS caremark. Once people were educated on the advantages they stood to get from such a system, they embraced it wholeheartedly. Similarly, if the people are shown why it is not in their best interests to build on river catchment areas, they will tend to desist from doing so. This approach is cheaper than trying to fence off all the river catchment areas, especially the ones that are expansive. It is also cheaper than deploying guards to ensure that people don’t trespass into the river catchment areas.