A WRUA is an association of water users, riparian land owners, or other stakeholders who have formally and voluntarily associated for the purposes of sharing, managing and conserving a common water resource cooperatively (definition in WRM Rules 2007).
The main objectives of a WRUA are to reduce and solve water use conflicts by:
- Promoting controlled and legal water use activities.
- Safeguarding the reserve flows for downstream ecological demands and basic human requirements;
Ensuring good management practices which make efficient and sustainable use of the water resources; and
- Promoting catchment conservation measures to improve water quantity and quality (taken from the WRUA Development Cycle 2009).
To achieve these objectives, there is need for continuous monitoring of water resources within the catchments. Most WRUAs have opted to hire a WRUA manager for this purpose, who in turn, recruits scouts who might or might not be on the WRUA’s payroll, depending on WRUA financial health. Most rivers are tens of kilometers in length, and their catchment areas can be hundreds of square kilometers.
This makes it challenging to monitor daily catchment happenings for the few human resource within the WRUA. This is where Baotree comes in as a helping agent.
Baotree is a data management software organization that supports data collection, data verification and data management – focused on grass root organizations and local natural resources. It enables effective data collection in real-time and encourages regular communication and trust among stakeholders within the catchment. MKEWP has partnered with Baotree and Likii and Narumoru WRUAs to pilot a new, digital, on-line data capture and monitoring system. The pilot is funded by Baotree. https://baotree.io
These two WRUAs will get the chance to use this software by mangers and scouts on their daily duties, as well as giving the community water projects a chance to report issues. This information is captured on a dashboard for each WRUA allowing them to see and respond to WRUA water data in real-time. This monitoring effort should enhance the WRUA’s swiftness in tackling water resource issues which can easily become volatile when left unhandled. It should improve the historical data each WRUA has on their water resources.
MKEWP is using this data from the pilot as well to inform water resource programming and to expand the role of WRUAs in sub-catchment water monitoring as part of its future support in the Upper Basin.
Stay tuned for the results of this pilot early in 2022.