Willingness to pay for the conservation of a Kenyan Wetland. The case of lake Naivasha
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Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on the earth. They allow interaction between water, soil, vegetation and light all the year round or during a great part of the year. The depth of the water is such that it allows photosynthesis to occur, making wetlands productive life supporting ecosystems. It is this association of water, light, soil and plants that typify various wetlands of Kenya that are famous for their avifauna and fisheries resources. There should therefore be an aim to create awareness of the values, uses and threats to our wetlands. Means should be put in place to help in creating and promoting education and awareness at all levels of the society, especially among government, policy and decision makers, developers, land owners, and local communities. Another objective should entail promoting better understanding and appreciation of the functions and values of wetlands though research and monitoring and supporting community conservation initiatives by provision of technical support, linkages and mobilization. The results showed that the local communities are willing to pay an amount of Kshs 171 per annum towards the conservation of L. Naivasha. This is an encouraging figure since if it is enforced then it would ease the governments burden towards conservation of the lake. The government and other interested parties (NGOs and local communities) should target the middle aged group since it is the one which is the most aware of the benefits of L. Naivasha conservation. Moreso, they are the most educated and have got surplus - income, their family sizes are few and hence understands more of the social economic consequences of L. Naivasha depletion. From the study it should be recommended that since most wetlands are traditional water sources and the only available grazing areas for the pastorals communities during drought. It should be advisable therefore to integrate the traditional management program. Appropriate water management including review of water abstraction rights in relation to the available water in order to ensure sustainable agricultural and urban development which takes into account the need to protect the lake and biodiversity should be taken into consideration.