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The Ewaso Maji Users Association (EMU SACCO), the newest innovation by MKEWP – Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership, is working to enhance water security for communities through financial solutions for Laikipia farmers

As part of MKEWP’s goal to improve water security in the Ewaso River Basin, EMU-SACCO has been developed to finance water investments at farm level. The water crisis in the Ewaso River Basin has been a never-ending challenge for our communities, too often accompanied by conflicts among the people.

Unreliable dry season river flows have led to general misuse of the already limited resource. This situation pits communities against each other, and puts a lot of them at a disadvantage.

To ease pressure on the already limited resource, MKEWP wants to increase and accelerate innovate water financing for water investment at farm level.

EMU SACCO is a community-based financier that supports farmers access to finances for household level investment in water harvesting, storage and efficient used. We encourage water users to be self-reliant and to invest in on-farm and community water conservation infrastructure.


Our objects are to:

  • Bridge financial gaps in water investment.
  • Provide a savings platform for water users
  • Offer a borrowing fund to help water users finance water storage and efficient use.
  • Promote water conservation within the Ewaso Basin.


  • We offer affordable and flexible rates.
  • We provide linkages between water users and modern technology service providers.
  • We aim at economic improvement of livelihoods of water users.
  • Link farmers to markets and business opportunities.

EMU-SACCO offers a revolutionary approach to water sustainability in our communities. We use a well-known Kenya credit and savings tool to accelerate solutions and ownership to our water conservation and management challenges.

EMU-SACCO is hosted by the Mount Kenya Water Partnership (MKEWP). Our offices are located at the Laikipia Forum premises in Nanyuki.

Join us – we are 50 members strong already. Please stop by for a visit and become a member!!




Illegal Water Abstraction Impacts Mount Kenya


Mt Kenya Water Abstraction

Mount Kenya’s moorlands is now littered with pipes used for illegal water intakes

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) joined the Mount Kenya Trust to survey water abstraction in the northern moorlands of Mt. Kenya.

The survey was conducted to look at compliance and how water abstraction is affecting the mountain.

The trip to the mountain revealed the discouraging state of affairs on water resource management in the most critical water tower in Kenya. The moorland, which falls under the supervision of Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service on Mt Kenya has witnessed increased human activity evident from numerous illegal water intakes constructed along the streams.

12 water intakes in a radius area of about 10 km were found during the survey. They sit between 3200 to 4000 metres above sea level. The highest water intake recorded during the survey was at 3987 metres above sea level – an indication that water users are going higher and higher up the mountain to abstract water.

Other key findings included construction of several water intakes too close to each other in the same stream. In one of the rivers, three intakes had been constructed within a two hundred metre stretch.  Moreover, the designs of these intakes do not allow the mandatory environmental flows downstream.

Springs and tarn are the major sources of water at the moorland. The numerous intakes are a threat to the existence of the tarns. They impact the ecosystem, the integrity of the watershed, and impact tourism and landscapes.

Furthermore, the moorlands are littered with plastic from water abstraction activities and routine maintenance.

Water abstraction , Water intakes, Mt kenya,

The intakes are also constructed too close to each other in the same stream

The intakes are connected to pipelines that snake their way down the terrain to serve the needs of users downstream in areas of Timau Sub-Catchment, and impact residents of Meru, Laikipia and Isiolo counties.

Water abstraction in the moorland puts pressure on the catchment and is not sustainable in the long run, says the MKEWP Coordinator, Stanley Kirimi.

Indeed, Mt Kenya is the most significant water tower as a source of two of six water basins in the country

The Coordinator adds, “There is need to contain the situation, rationalize the offtake of water, and to adopt common intakes for effective water resource management.

“Common intakes allow users to share the resource equitably, and allow the recommended 30% of the river to flow downstream as ‘environmental flow’.” This is a requirement of the Water laws.

All the illegal intakes fall within Meru County boundaries and are subject to the authority of the Regional Water Resource Authority in Nanyuki.

We visited the moorland and documented the water intakes in video below:



MKEWP Presents Strategic Plan To 2030 Water Resources Group Governing Council

2030 Water Resources Group

Stakeholders pose for a group photo after 2030 Water Resources Group Council Meeting held on the 11th April 2018 in Nairobi        Photo: Courtesy/Ministry of Water and Sanitation

The Water Partnership (MKEWP) presented its 5-year Strategic Plan and Financial Sustainability Plan (FSP) to the national 2030 Water Resources Group Kenya (2030 WRG) during its governing council meeting held in Nairobi on April 11th, 2018.

The Partnership took the council through its five strategic objectives to address the long term water-related needs, challenges, and risks for basin development and management in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Water Basin.

The Partnership was commended for its efforts to deliver a Financial Sustainability Plan that provides a road map for fundraising, financial management, and income generation.

MKEWP’s partner,Rural Focus, showcased the Water Partnership as a success story that could be replicated in the other water basins of Kenya. Rural Focus had just completed a national study benchmarking water partnerships.

The success of the MKEWP was also voiced by Board’s co-chair, Cabinet Secretary for Water and Sanitation, Mr. Simon Chelugui, and BIDCO CEO, Mr. Vimal Shah. They encouraged establishment of more partnerships that use the MKEWP model.

The WRG 2030 Kenya Board represents a unique public-private-civil society collaboration that facilitates dialogue to drive action on water resources reform in water stressed countries in developing economies. The Kenya Group is one of 12 groups supported by the World Bank internationally.


KWCA, Conservancies and Conservation


There are 160 conservancies now registered with KWCA in the country. They cover 11% of Kenya’s land mass or about 6.36 million acres. There are 12 conservancies registered with the KWCA in Laikipia – Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Ol Pejeta, Ol Jogi, Loisaba, Sosian, Lewa/Borana, Ngare Ndare, Il Ngwesi, Naibunga, Lekkuruki, Mugie and Sangare.

76 of the registered communities are on community land, and 58 are on private lands. 72% of Kenya’s population of Southern White Rhinos and 45% of Kenya’s Black rhinos are found in these conservancies and 90% of the world’s population of Grevy’s Zebras.

KWCA is a vital organization – giving voice to the conservancy movement and credibility to the future of conservation outside of parks and reserves. But the conservancies are conservancies in name only. The regulation implementing conservation as a land use, and embracing it in law, is still pending. You can read the latest version of the DRAFT regulation here:

Just how many of these conservancies are ready to take on the weighty set of responsibilities enshrined in this regulation? Here’s what all land (private and community) dedicated to wildlife conservation must provide to the Government in order to register:

(1) Concept proposal made by the applicant;
(2) Size of land and land ownership;
(3) Ecological viability, currently or potential;
(4) National land-use plans and county spatial plans;
(5) Proposed governance and benefit sharing plans
(6) Socio-economic viability;
(7) Assessment and inventory of biodiversity contained therein; and
(8) contiguous land use patterns and their effect on the proposed conservation plan of the conservancy

Upon submission of your application to KWS, (accompanied by a fee) you will receive a certificate of registration. The Certificate of Registration is renewable every 10 years, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. KWS will also maintain the registry of conservancies.

Within 3 years of registration, you will be required to submit a Management Plan for the territory. You must also submit an annual progress report on core activities. This must include the number ranks and identify of wildlife scouts, incidents of human wildlife conflict, and any incidents that have a “serious” bearing on conservation.

The County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees in each County where conservancies occur (28 of them) are responsible for monitoring the conservancies in each county. Their additional tasks include mediation and arbitration of disputes, oversee the preparation of management AND implementation of management plans, and carry out other duties as assigned by the KWS.

To date, there is still not evidence of clear, substantive incentives and/or benefits for establishment of your land as a conservancy.

Are we ALL ready for this?

What does the Death of Sudan Mean for Laikipia?

Sudan, the last male Northern white rhino

Sudan with his caregiver at the Sanctuary in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia.  Photo: Courtesy/Ol Pejeta Conservancy

This March, the wildlife conservation community and the world mourned the death of 45-year-old Sudan, the last known male Northern White Rhino on earth. In his last days, he suffered a great deal due to age-related complications that had led to degenerative changes in his body.

What does his life and his subsequent death in Laikipia forebode? Is Laikipia destined to become a graveyard for rare and endangered species? Is this where the world’s “last” and “remaining” come to live out their lives?

Sudan’s death has focused the world’s attention on the plight of endangered species – and more specifically on the role that the greater Laikipia landscape plays in wildlife conservation. With 70% of Kenya’s wildlife lost over the last 30 years, and 65% of that remaining wildlife living outside of national parks and reserves, perhaps it’s time to turn our mourning into action on private lands – individual and community.

The wildlife populations in Laikipia are already legend in Kenya. Our wildlife population has largely been maintained over the last 30 years. Several species are at risk, and our biodiversity challenged, but in large part, our wildlife numbers are robust.

Let’s work to keep the greater Laikipia area the best landscape for wildlife conservation, livelihoods and productive land use in the Country.

What could be a more fitting tribute than this to the memory of Sudan?