Kenyan laws define riparian land as being a minimum of 6 metres and up to a maximum of 30 metres on either side of a river bank from the highest water mark. This distance is based on the width of the river and the water volume at any given time.
The first Development Plan of 1968 indicates a minimum of 30 meters from Nairobi River between Museum Hills and Racecourse roundabout.
Building on riparian land is illegal and structures on said land is in danger of being demolished by authorities.
In Kenya, the law on riparian zone protection is not in a piece of a single legislation, the law is fragmented in numerous pieces of legislations like Environment Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) 1999, the Water Quality Regulations (WQR) (2006), Water Resources Management Rules (WRMR) (2007), the Agricultural Act (Cap318), Forest Act, 2005, the Land Act 2012, the Water Act, 2002 and the Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Act 2013 presenting a problem of overlapping mandates and lack of coordination in enforcement. This has presented a big problem for the preservation, protection and management of riparian areas which are endowed with a number of natural resources that need to be protected through a better and effective system of management.