The National Drought Management Authority has made public that we are about to face the worst drought since 2009/2010 stating, “the damages and losses as a result of the drought will be unprecedented”. This is in response to the current drought situation. Various sectors have been encouraged to come up with interventions to mitigate the drought that is expected to take place between June and October 2017. Other stakeholders have been encouraged to source for funds in order to assist local communities.
As we brace ourselves for this drought, the MKEWP continues to urge members of the public to remain vigilant in order to protect our limited water resources. A quick situation assessment carried out by the Partnership and WRA officials has revealed that the water situation is dire. Naro Moru, Rongai, Kareminu, Ontulili and Sirimon rivers have already started drying up. Other rivers like Timau, Burguret, Moyok, and the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro have diminished flows. The drought will only put more pressure on these rivers.
During the January-April dry spell, MKEWP worked with the WRA and various WRUAs to mitigate the water crisis. This involved WRUAs implementing River Water Rationing Programs, while the WRA helped with compliance. One of the lessons learnt in this exercise was the need to start these efforts before the rivers dry up. We must take on a much more proactive approach when dealing with water crisis management. Restoration of river flows is extremely difficult where rivers have dried up, and the only significant improvement on flows is in rivers that had minimal flows.
The new Water Act 2016 has enhanced the role of WRUAs in Water Resource Management. As water users within our respective sub-catchment, we all have a role to play in the management of water resources. WRUAs provide us with this mechanism and their membership is open to all water users in their sub-catchment. Don’t know which WRUA you belong to? Call LWF on +254 726 500 260 to find out.
The WRUAs play an important role in managing water shortages. Their job is to ensure that water is available for all the users within their sub-catchment. This role has become very challenging due to lack of finances to support operations such as the implementation of rationing programs, and monitoring activities. To address this, MKEWP is developing a partnership agreement with Wetlands International to support the WRUAs. MKEWP, through its secretariat LWF, will also make available a simplified popular version of the Water Act so that we can all know what the law says about Water Resource Management and, more importantly, how we can participate and stay engaged in the conservation of our catchment areas.