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Know Your WRUAs: TELESWANI WRUA

Teleswani sub-catchment is within the Ewaso Nyiro North catchment area. It covers an area of approximately 35.68 square kilometres with a reach of about 20 kilometres before it joins the Nanyuki River, which then joins the Ewaso Ng’iro River. The river originates from the peaks of Mt. Kenya. With its source in Meru County, it traverses parts of that County before delivering its wealth in Laikipia County.

The water in this sub-catchment is vital to small scale farmers and downstream pastoralists who form the larger part of this water community. Currently the WRUA membership stands at 57 community water projects, which serves approximately 15,000 people. They provide water to parts of Timau town.

Teleswani WRUA has been working with the Ontulili CFA on forest and river bank resource protection. They plant trees planting around the springs and the riparian areas together to prevent catchment degradation.

Water rationing is a tool that helps share available water during dry spells. During these dry spells, water levels in this sub-catchment fall drastically low and this is when rationing starts.

During implementation of their water rationing program, Teleswani WRUA divides their community water projects into two ZONES, which use water in an alternating pattern of 48-hours each. They rely on their staff, and their constitution and by-laws to ensure strict monitoring and enforcement. This rationing program is successful because it has eradicated water conflicts during the dry spell and ensures that 30% of the required environmental flow is maintained. This has really helped mitigate water conflicts, since everyone gets water for their daily activities.

All WRUAs have the mandate to manage their sub-catchment. This is stipulated in the Water Act, 2016. However, the GoK neither invests in the WRUA’s capacity nor gives them the money to carry out these duties. Teleswani WRUA is made up of purely community water projects. The good news is that Teleswani WRUA will be one of the WRUAs to pilot the WRUA AGENCY MODEL, which will guarantee a more sustainable management of the communal water supply in the long term.

The WRUA Agency Financing Model is an arrangement between the WRA and a WRUA, in which the WRA pays the WRUA for specific services rendered. This role is envisaged in the Water Act 2016. The model is yet to be operationalized but it does provide an opportunity to redefine the WRA-WRUA relationship around specific deliverables in a way that also improves WRUA operational financing and WRA operations.  To accelerate the operationalization of this role, WRA headquarters needs to endorse and approve this approach. WRUA capacity also needs improvement to undertake specific services contracted to by the WRA.

 

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