The Challenge: Managing a critical catchment

Current agricultural practices in addition to the effects of climate change have led to the uneven distribution of water throughout the Ewaso Ng’iro North Catchment, the largest of five water catchments in Kenya. Concentration of the area’s water resources in the south western part of the catchment—home to two of Kenya’s water towers—coupled with the region’s high population density and settlement have led to intensive use of, competition for, and conflict over existing water resources. In addition, the catchment’s limited storage capacity is insufficient to sustain the region year round. Although a variety of institutions have been established to address many of these challenges, weak institutional linkages, conflicting mandates and financial constraints have limited effective implementation of water resource management and conservation in the area.

Action: Three counties, one partnership

The platform will address challenges surrounding:

  • Water allocation and use management. The partnership aims to develop systems and strategic allocation plans to ensure water quantity and quality reserved for the maintenance of ecosystems, human consumption, agriculture, and industry are sustain-ably and effectively managed.
  • Water resource infrastructure development. Given the region’s potential for water storage, developing infrastructure both at household and community level will be instrumental in ensuring water security needs of the region taking into consideration current scarcity of suitable dam sites and the effects of climate change.

Institutional capacity in the catchment. In the absence of existing monitoring and enforcement of water abstractions, discussions surrounding allocations across sectors and water using groups is unlikely to adequately progress. Effective regulation is therefore a pre-condition for effective allocation decisions.  Strengthening water abstraction, monitoring and regulation, in addition to creating proper incentives for monitoring and enforcement will be instrumental to the effective management of water in the catchment.

Objectives: Driving action through partnership

Launched in October 2016, the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership—MKEWP— is a partnership of public, private and civil society organisations committed to socially acceptable, economically favourable and environmentally sustainable management of water resources in the Ewaso Ng’iro North Catchment area. Spearheaded by the County Government of Laikipia and Mount Kenya Growers Group, and supported by the Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group, the partnership will provide a mechanism by which water access, use, management and conservation can be addressed in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Catchment area—an area of approximately 15,000 square kilometres, through collective actions that balance the social, economic and environmental demands on water resources equitably.

The MKEWP has already received commitment from 29 partners from rural Water Resource Users Associations, Community Forest Associations, Laikipia, Meru and Nyeri county governments, civil society, private sector (commercial growers), parastatals, research institutions, conservancies and water service providers.

Principles governing the Partnership include:

  • Safe, secure, and sustainable water supply and access.
  • Sustainable water resources management which is central to the survival and livelihoods of all Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Water Basin inhabitants and integrity of the environment.
  • Water is a resource that must be shared efficiently and equitably.
  • Water resources management is a shared responsibility and is anchored in national documents including Vision 2030, the Water Act, the Laikipia Water Conservation Strategy 2014-2018, the National Water Resources Management Strategy, the National Water Services Strategy, ENNCA Catchment Management Strategy 2014-2022, Master plan for Conservation and Sustainable Management of Water Catchment Areas in Kenya 2012.
  • Capitalise on the sources of local and national funding in support of Basin solutions.
  • Integrated Water Resources Management which must be practiced across individual sub-catchment and administrative lines for it to be effective.
  • Recognition of the roles and mandates of national and county governments in water resource management, catchment management, and provision of water and sanitation services and, propose through the action of the Partnership to add value to the work of the authorities.


Laikipia Wildlife Forum has been appointed the secretariat for the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water.

Partnership responsible for implementing key functions including:

  • Lead fundraising efforts for MKEWP.
  • Coordinating key activities like e.g. meetings geared towards the growth of the partnership.
  • Provide communication support.
  • Provide networking services between partners.
  • Manage the growth of membership for MKEWP and also support the coordination of activities for the membership.
  • Provide auditing, monitoring and evaluation services.

More information

James Mwangi

Mobile: +254 726 500260

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