The WRUA Institutional Development Project Implementing Committee have confirmed that efforts to strengthen the role and finances of WRUAs is on track. These results were highlighted during the performance review and feedback meeting convened by the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership, which leads the implementer of the WID project.
The 9-member team met on May 25th . The team comprises two WRUA representatives, three county representatives (Isiolo, Laikipia and Nyeri), the WRUA Forum chair, a CETRAD representative, head of the Mount Kenya Growers Group, and MKEWP. The team discussed the performance of 7 pilot WRUAs against 16 different performance criteria established by the Water Resources Authority
Preliminary results of the abstraction survey studies shared by Rural Focus highlighted the number of abstractors disaggregated into surface and ground water sources in 5 river systems: Ngare Ndare, Ngare Nything, Teleswani, Likii and Ngusishi. Isiolo and Naro Moru rivers had already been done.
There are five aspects of the present WRUA work led by MKEWP.
- The first aspect of this Project is an assessment of WRUA organization and management. How well equipped is each WRUA to handle the operations mandated to them under the law?
- Who is using water, from what source, and how much? This second component of the WID Project uses abstraction data to determine water use in each sub-catchment.
- Point source pollution – our rivers are increasingly being polluted by a variety of different land use practices, solid and liquid waste, chemicals, groundwater runoff, etc. These illegal discharges affect river water quality, and jeopardize the health of all river users.
- Riparian health is key to the future of our river’s integrity. This project reviews land use and the impacts to riparian health. The absence of riparian law enforcement affects the river, the water quality, people, their health, and wildlife.
- Each WRUA struggles to operate in the absence of water fees linked to their roles. Each WRUA has the capacity to add value to their service delivery, and to improve their payment for services delivered. This aspect of WRUA operations is receving attention.
The Project Implementation Committee took to the field to review progress among the 7-participating pilot WRUAs. The highlights of their fieldwork are:
- The WRUAs require collaboration and support from WRA and County Governments to effectively carry on their mandate. WRUAs are encouraged to cultivate a partnership with local officials at National and County Governments to address water pollution issues, riparian degradation and illegal abstractions within their river systems.
- The WRUA managers show their capacity to monitor their rivers, enforce riparian conservation, and supervised scouting activities. Without managers, WRUAs fail, and without scouts, there is no river monitoring. WRUAs with managers and scout perform significantly better than WRUAs without.
- WRUAs with large farms and conservancies that see themselves as river partners perform considerably better than WRUAs without such partners. WRUA services can be expanded to include climate chage programming and carbon sequestration, offering their partners a win-win situation at commercial and community levels.
- River level monitoring needs greater investment in cooperation between WRA and WRUAs, with information sharing, technology to make information sharing easier, as well as river gauging infrastructure.
The implementation of the WID project is supported by