A New Water Partnership Forged for Mt. Kenya and the Upper Ewaso Ngiro Basin

What’s in a Partnership?

The three counties of Meru, Laikipia and Nyeri have joined with the Mt. Kenya sub-basin water actors to solve water problems shared by its citizens. Flower farmers, green growers, WRUAs, researchers, and other water actors are coming together to identify, discuss and take action on common water problems in this area.

The driver for this partnership has been the increasing water insecurity being faced by all water users within the upper basin. Within the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin, water resources are under extreme pressure due to small-holder and commercial irrigation activities. Although commercial growers have diversified water sources from rivers to rainwater storage and groundwater, the dry season river flows continue to trend downwards despite concerted efforts by WRMA, WRUAs and the commercial growers. Failure to manage the shared resources puts existing businesses, livelihoods and the environment at risk. In addition to water being a basic human right in our Constitution, we are constraining any future, sustainable, economic development.

These water user actors within the region have agreed to form a public-private partnership named the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP). This is an important platform for all stakeholders within the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin to engage constructively in water resource use and management. It provides a mechanism by which water access, use, management and conservation is addressed collectively in the basin.

Water partnership

Governance of the MKEWP

Membership of the MKEWP is drawn from water stakeholders that include: County governments, Water Resources Management Authority, Nonprofi t Institutions, Private Sector water resource users, Water Resources Users Associations, parastatals, private land owners, water services and sanitation service providers, research organisations, fi nancial institutions and non-voting members. The actions and activities of the Partnership are governed by 15 Council members drawn from the constituent members. This council is lead by a Chairperson and a vice chairperson who are elected by the Council.

The council is served by a secretariat to help it in carrying out its mandate. LWF has been selected to serve as the Partnership secretariat for the next three years.

Growing the Partnership Momentum

Since the inception meeting held on 9th December 2016 at Lions Court Inn, Nanyuki, the partnership has held 5 meetings to develop the idea. A 10-member committee was formed to develop the Partnership Charter and Terms of Reference. This document defines the goals, purpose, principles and modalities of the partnership. It was adopted in June 2016 by its members.

Already the first Council meeting has been conducted in July, with members unanimously electing Eng. J. Maina, Director for Water Services, Laikipia County as the Chairman. The Vice Chair will be appointed by the Private Sector. The Council has already formed the following committees: Fundraising, Launch, and Project Management. These committees will work with the Secretariat to:

a) Secure funding for the Partnership in the next 3 years. The Kenya Water Resources Group 2030 has indicated their support for the Partnership and the secretariat functions.

b) Launch of the Partnership, which is planned for October 2016.

c) Oversee the implementation of Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) Project. This is a climate adaptation project funded by NCF that would benefit WRUAs and Water Service Providers. It will be administered through the MKEWP.

The Secretariat of the MKEWP will be housed within the LWF compound and includes the same set of services extended to similar associations and membership stakeholders in Laikipia under its new strategic plan. The next 6 months are crucial for the Partnership as it embarks on securing funding for its core activities, prepares for the Launch, and begins to identify and prioritise key water projects within the Basin for funding.

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