Water Crisis – The Solutions Lie With Us!


The present water crisis in Laikipia is the result of three things:

  1. Less than normal rainfall over the last 6 months, and less than average rainfall in 2016.
  2. Illegal abstraction of water from our rivers.
  3. Inadequate water harvesting and water storage and mismanagement of water for agriculture.

We are witnessing a water crisis of devastating proportions. According to Susan Marseille, a downstream riparian landowner in Timau, this is the first time since 2009 that she is seeing the Timau River go dry for more than two weeks.

The Naro Moru and Ngobit rivers are also drying up, forcing residents to travel for miles in search of water.  Downstream river users have been without flowing water for more than a month

WRMA’s Nanyuki Sub-Regional Manager, Mr. Gibson Mwangi, is greatly concerned that the catchments are experiencing water shortages as a result of the increasing, unregulated water demand for irrigation, domestic use and for livestock.

In Kenya, every citizen has a right to water. The National Water Strategy, as well as the new Water Act commits to making this happen. When we suffer water shortages like this, our tendency is to blame government. But the immediate solutions to this water crisis lie with us.

Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) has mobilised its Partners for collective action. The Partnership aims to return water flow within our rivers as required by law. All Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs) and WRMA stakeholders have agreed to implement an immediate action plan to tackle the current crisis. The plan will:

  • Mount an immediate campaign about water abstraction, monitoring and regulation through WRUAs.  By the end of February, we want all rivers flowing again.
  • Help WRMA to better monitor and enforce the water regulations affecting abstraction.
  • Build the capacity of WRUAs to monitor and enforce water conservation and management rules.

To make this action plan work, MKEWP will work with WRUA clusters. These are “zones” of WRUAs in common catchment areas. Collections of WRUAs will work together to restore river flow in an area, not just in each river. We use this system to help WRUAs monitor river flows individually and collectively.

Our WRUA clusters are: A) Timau, Ngusishi, Teleswani and Sirimon B) Ontulili, Likii and Nanyuki C) Rongai, Burguret and Naromoru D) Moyok, Upper Ewaso Ngiro, Kareminu and Ngobit.

LWF is the secretariat to the MKEWP. We have succeeded in raising 2 Million KSH towards this effort to get rivers flowing again. We have secured funds from Kenya Water Resources Group 2030/IFC to support the initial activities of the plan, and have since been joined by matching funds from the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), WRMA, the Mt. Kenya Growers Groups, and the County Government of Laikipia.

Execution of the plan will be carried out by the WRUAs and WRMA.

WRMA is the technical support to ensure that water rationing programs and water laws are enforced.

WRUAs are responsible for the implementation of river water rationing programs, river flow monitoring, and participating in joint monitoring within their clusters.

LWF will serve as an information clearing house, support additional fundraising activities, networking and reporting and administration of the program.

If your river is not flowing, tell your WRUA chair and the committee. If your river is flowing, then thank your WRUA committee. If you still have problems, contact us on mkewp@laikipia.org.

The foundation and success of this plan is dependent on the participation of all stakeholders and water users. We call upon you to collaborate with your local WRUA and WRMA for improved, equitable access to water for all users.

Additional support either in kind or cash to support the plan is being sought from stakeholders and partners.

To make a contribution via MPESA, use Lipa na mpesa – paybill number: 898370, Account: Water

All contributions via cheque should be made out to Laikipia Wildlife Forum.

To find out more about how you can be a part of this effort, please contact James Mwangi on mkewp@laikipia.org


3 replies
  1. Sammy
    Sammy says:

    This efferts have been in place since the enactment of water act and yet we anually experience the same problems. I think its a high time we accept reality. Demand for water is on the rise and our rivers cannot keep up. Stop wasting money on workshop and strategies but instead find water to supply demand. When conservation efforts have failed accept and find realistic solutions……

    • Jeff
      Jeff says:

      As a Kenyan I’m surprised by your comments especially considering I know you as a conservationist.

      Water issues are not a laikipia exclusive problem. Drought and hunger mitigation measures just like anti-poaching efforts, anti-corruption efforts and many other causes that have been a continual effort in Kenya but I don’t hear you suggest we accept the reality and forget about them to ‘find realistic solutions’. WRUAS and WRMAs are not going anywhere so what are you actually suggesting?

  2. letair caleb kabarak
    letair caleb kabarak says:

    literally, all problems have their solution within the environment. however, water crisis should be solved using nature-based pragmatic approaches such as integrated water management approach. the approach ensures that both upstream and downstream riparian owners have equal access and abstraction rights to the finite resource thus solving conflict that may arise as a result of over-abstraction.


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