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Stories of Change : Community Voices on the Impact of the Laikipia Cattle, Water and Wildlife Project

A member of the Mutara community sharing his testimony on the impact of the Laikipia Cattle, Water and Wildlife Project.  programme in the area (Photo by Dylan Habil @OPC)

Lots of projects get “done”, but who is interested in impacts?

From 25th to 30th January 2020, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) & Laikipia Forum joined community groups within the Mutara and Suguroi river sub-catchments to learn about their experiences, perspectives and results from their participation in the Laikipia Cattle, Water and Wildlife Project. 

Mr. Kiprono Lekeiyo, a downstream water user and a member of the Mutara Water Resources Users Association shared that, as  part of the downstream community, he has suffered a lot from lack of water for domestic use and his livestock. Mr. Kiprono noted that water scarcity happens most during the dry seasons of January-March and July-September. He’s angry, and tells us that his woes are brought about by upstream communities that abstract all the available water from the river for irrigation purposes, leaving nothing for himself and members of his community.

This situation seems to be gradually changing since the beginning of the Laikipia Cattle, Water and Wildlife Project .

Lekeiyo confirms that through the Project’s advocacy efforts, Mutara WRUA is currently working closely  with upstream communities to regulate abstractions through a water rationing plan.

The water rationing plan develops a schedule for abstractors, ensuring that farmers are not abstracting all at the same time, and that they safeguard the environmental flows.

“So far, so good,” he says.

He gives a further example of how they did not experience a dry river  last year. “The upstream- downstream meetings are very important for us since we are able to negotiate water access rights with the upstream communities,” Kiprono concludes.

Kiprono’s sentiments are echoed by Mr. James Eleman, Senior Chief, Mutara Location. “We are seeing increased efforts by farmers to harvest and store rain water. Within Mutara sub catchment, I have a record of about 100 farmers who have installed water pans. This is good since it increases water storage and availability within the sub catchment. The water field days and WRUA campaign to increase water storage organized by the project have resulted in these positive efforts. We continue to urge farmers to construct more water pans as an alternative water source for the dry seasons.”

The project started in 2017 and ends in 2021. It is implemented by 3 partners – Fauna and Flora International, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Laikipia Forum.The Project is supported by the Darwin Initiative through UK Government funding.

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