The conservation and management of water is a part of devolution, and this critical resource is supervised by both national and regional authorities. However, surface water management has not yet devolved to County structures, and so Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs) are the basic tool for sub-catchment management of water use.
The Mid Ewaso WRUA is an important group linking the upper Ewaso Nyiro watershed with the lower Ewaso Nyiro river area. Water off-take in the system has been fraught with problems, particularly during the dry spells when much of the sub-catchments river waters and their sources have disappeared.
Based on a directive by the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) given in 2012, the Mid Ewaso WRUA was split into five manageable areas that must be addressed in the area’s Sub-Catchment Management Plan (SCMP). The SCMP is the major tool for Government and local water resource users to manage and monitor water use and conservation. Based on the WRMA directive, the Mid Ewaso WRUA was required to update their SCMP and this led to the formation of a key partnership between the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and LWF to achieve this revision.
In early December, 20 Mid Ewaso WRUA members, chairmen of select Group Ranches within the sub-catchment, area chiefs and private ranches met at Ol Gaboli Lodge to address the requirements of Government. Participants were led by the WRMA Isiolo sub-region in discussing how current challenges, new interventions, budgets and timelines can be prioritised.
This process will result in a revised and improved SCMP that will guide the WRUA and its stakeholders to address water resource management issues within the sub catchment. Implementation of the plan will require financial support from the Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF), Laikipia County Government, donors and other stakeholders supporting community based water resource management within the upper Ewaso Nyiro catchment.
The phases required to finalise the review of the SCMP include:
• WRUA capacity building on new WDC chapters namely: flood management, climate change and alternative livelihoods,
• Stakeholders meeting for revision and updating of the original plan
• Validation of the draft SCMP, and;
• Approval and adoption.
LWF and AWF will continue to work together to support finalisation of the SCMP for the Mid Ewaso WRUA.
The SCMP is a plan that is developed by the WRUA in collaboration with WRMA and other stakeholders. The SCMP reflects a set of activities designed to meet identified objectives (targets) to address WRM problems within the sub-catchment. It is expected that the SCMP is a document that is periodically reviewed to ensure that the plan remains relevant to prevailing WRM problems and to best management approaches.