Since its inception in late 2016, the Mt. Kenya-Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) has continued to bring together water actors to solve water and water resource management problems in the Upper Ewaso Nyiro North Catchment Area.
The actors range from: flower farmers, horticultural growers, WRUAs, County governments, national government agencies, researchers, civil society groups and other water actors. The platform has consistently ensured that these members collectively identify, discuss and take action on common water problems in this area.
The overall goal of this partnership is to ensure that water resources in UENNCA are managed for sustainable, equitable, social and economic development in harmony with natural water systems and environmental cycles.
In 2019, the Platform focused on donor assisted projects including the WRUA/WRA Water Services Agreement, and the Ewaso Maji Users SACCO.
Both of these projects are funded by World Bank under the Water Resources Group 2030 and Cordaid. The two projects were key points of discussion during the annual general meeting. Both continue into 2020.
2019 Annual General Meeting
On the 29th of November MKEWP held its 2nd annual general meeting at the Nanyuki Sports Club. The meeting was well represented with stakeholders from the World Bank, SNV, Water Resources Authority, Community Forest Associations, Vatan Plastics, flower farms in the Mount Kenya Growers Group, community water projects and Water Resource Users Associations.
Mr. John Kinoti, of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, was confirmed as the new MKEWP chairman for the period running 2020-2022, and Esther Nyambura Mbugua of Nyeri County Government, as the vice chair.
Taking center stage on the discussions was the WRUA Agency Model. The model describes an arrangement between the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and a WRUA, in which the WRA pays the WRUA for specific services rendered. This role is envisaged in the Water Act 2016. A services agreement between the WRA and the WRUA is essential to WRUA operations and survival. It’s essential to effective sub-catchment management and water security.
MKEWP also shared with its members on the progress of the Ewaso Maji Users SACCO. This was highlighted as focus area in ensuring water security at household levels. This is to be realized by helping small-holders farmers increase their water storage and water use efficiency. MKEWP has as a result supported the formation of a water savings and credit facility within the basin to help small-holder farmers save and borrow for on-farm water storage and conservation investments. This is done through a newly established water savings and credit cooperative society (SACCO) dubbed EMU-SACCO, (Ewaso Maji User Savings and Credit Cooperative). EMU SACCO allows farmers to access finance for water conservation investments including dam liners, drip irrigation kits and solar pumps at farm level.
MKEWP through its coordinator, Mr. Stanley Kirimi shared on how the platform has in the recent past supported the multitude of partners addressing water resource management issues within the basin.
The members’ contributions leveraged additional funding of Kes. 17,828,714 from donor partners: World Bank/Water Resources Group 2030, CORDAID, SNV, Fauna and Flora International, and Wetlands International. This support has enabled us to lobby for the implementation of the WRUA agency model, support establishment of the EMU SACCO, support WRUAs, and support MKEWP operations.
The commitment to have MKEWP as a Public-private partnership remains a main focus for the secretariat. It is the prime mechanism to collaborate with government institutions to fund the much needed water infrastructure investment and work with the private sector to bring the technology and efficiency that can improve the performance and financial sustainability of the water sector within the basin.
The meeting highlighted on two main lessons learnt especially with focus to the two projects
- EMU SACCO establishment is on course. A consultant will soon be engaged to help the SACCO with a business plan. Membership however, is slower than expected, reflecting a shortage of capital from many farmers to start their SACCO investment. Loan defaults in Laikipia are greater than 70% illustrating the difficulties that farmers have in meeting their financial obligations.
- The WRUA agency model (now a water services agreement) piloting phase requires the support and engagement of WRA headquarters to ensure success. A taskforce assigned by the World Bank’s 2030 Water Resources Group, has been established to work with MKEWP on to secure WRA approval towards this. This task force is comprised of WRA, WRUA/MKEWP representatives, WSTF, 2030WRG/WBG, and the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation.