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Mutara WRUA : The Journey From Water Access Equality to Equity

Members of Mutara WRUA at the Ngusishi Common Intake in October 4, 2019

Water is the most important resource for community members living in Mutara Sub Catchment which lies within Nyandarua County and Laikipia County. The multifaceted uses of water directly impact daily life and human survival of the residents. Within the sub-catchment, different levels and circumstances of water access have the potential to elevate people out of poverty or to condemn them into it.  Precisely, communities living near water sources are engaged in irrigated agriculture farming high-value crops like onions, tomatoes, French and runner beans among others.  The abstraction survey report by WRA in 2017 reveals the extent of increased water abstraction in Mutara Sub Catchment as shown in the figure below:

Cumulative abstractions Source Mutara Abstraction Survey

The significant rise from 1986 to 2017 indicates high-level irrigation in the catchment, signifying a major shift from rainfed agriculture to irrigated agriculture.

The unfortunate consequence of over-abstraction of water for irrigation use in Mutara is the detrimental lack of water for domestic and livestock use by the downstream communities.

Mrs. Nancy Karuri, the WRUA chairperson, on June 17, 2020, observed that water use conflicts have become the order of the day for the communities over competing needs. The Water Resources Regulations prioritizes water for the environment and domestic use over water for irrigation use.  She stated “Our river situation is getting worse every day. We have more and more people coming to lease land for irrigation farming. This has pushed the already high demand for water to the extreme. Our river can no longer sustain the community needs without intervention. We are witnessing conflicts even during the rainy seasons.”

To address this challenge, MKEWP and OPC working together under the financial support from the Laikipia Cattle, Water, and Wildlife project (Funded by Darwin Initiative through Fauna and Flora International) are supporting the WRUA in finding long term solutions to the water resource management challenges within the sub-catchment.

In October 2019, Mutara WRUA visited Ngusishi WRUA in Timau, Meru County to learn about Ngusishi WRUA’s success in managing high water demand for competing needs. The most important take away from this visit was the application of common intake in ensuring equitable water allocation for all and safeguarding the environmental flows.  From this visit, the Mutara WRUA has sensitized its members on the need to develop a common intake that will help prioritize water allocation and support sustainable livelihoods within the community.

To move this forward, MKEWP is coordinating the various stakeholders within the WRUA to support the design, WRA permit approval process, and resource mobilization to construct the intake. On 17th and 19th June 2020, the WRUA conducted two technical meetings with WRA, County Government Representatives from Nyandarua and Laikipia, OPC, and MKEWP to develop the common intake implementation action plan.  The action plan has for 8 milestones as shown in the diagram below:

Common intake milestones to be accomplished by June 2021

This is a robust process for the WRUA and the community members. MKEWP and WRA will provide technical assistance to ensure that the WRUA is successful in achieving all the milestones. The WRUA is counting on Laikipia and Nyandarua County Governments to provide resources and materials needed in the intake construction and pipeline reticulation.

Mutara WRUA common intake technical committee meeting on June 19, 2020

The Community members are ready to contribute to labor where they have committed to do the pipeline trenching and provide labor during the intake construction. Once completed, the project will provide water to a population of 43,480 people living in Nyandarua County (Ndaragwa Ward) and Laikipia County (Salama Ward and Sosian Ward).

If you wish to support this great WRUA initiative, kindly contact:

Mutara WRUA Chairperson

Name                                                             Mobile No.                                    Email Address

Nancy Karuri                                                0725284095                                 mutarawrua@gmail.com


MKEWP Water Resources Specialist

Name                                              Mobile                                            Email Address

James Mwangi                             0727998319                                 james.mwangi@laikipia.org


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