Introduction

All of Laikipia is water dependent. Nowhere is this concept more dramatically felt than in the high grasslands and savannah of the County where a vast majority of water is surface water.

All LWF member groups are dependent on the water resources within the Laikipia ecosystem. 93% of pastoralists living in Laikipia depend on the Ewaso Nyiro River, which runs through the area. Few have access to bore holes and rainwater harvesting.

Increasingly, the water resources of Laikipia are under threat. In 2009 the two major rivers of Laikipia dried up for the first time in recorded history. Boreholes also dried up and there was an outbreak of cholera. All this led to significant loss – human, social, economic and wildlife.

Illegal abstraction is another threat that is caused when people divert water at the upper reaches of the river for illegal, personal and commercial use. Illegal abstraction increasingly causes tension and conflict around access and use of water resources.

Degradation in this region is caused by deforestation, and cultivation in wetlands and riparian areas. These activities destroy surface cover which increases surface run-off, causing soil erosion. The eroded soils are carried by surface flow and deposited in the rivers, dams and water pans reducing storage capacity. The increased surface run-off results in increased potential downstream flooding and has its own associated consequences.

Water quality is degraded when chemicals and other hazardous effluents are discharged into the water courses. LWF is working with towns, settlements and farmers to come up with better pesticide/herbicide management and improved waste disposal methods. We create awareness among our membership regarding the water quality regulations developed by the Kenyan Government.

Since its inception, LWF has been working with various organisations to develop sustainable solutions to water challenges in Laikipia, and we are always seeking partnerships whenever possible.

LWF and Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs)

LWF is working with community groups to set up WRUAs who actively monitor and control water use along rivers. The communities we support include LWF members, from large and small holders – to pastoralists – to CFAs.

Our support to these WRUAs includes the following:

  • River Pegging – Defining Riparian Areas: Every river is required by law to have a specified amount of land along its banks where no farming or logging takes place. These are referred to as riparian areas.
  • Reforestation: Soil erosion drastically reduces the quality of water flowing in Laikipia’s rivers. Reforestation not only addresses soil erosion into rivers but restores tree cover and water retention in the region.
  • Conflict Resolution: We bring together WRUAs to address water-based conflicts through dialogue, mediation, and representation to officials. We work to support collective actions of WRUAs and support them in advocacy, rules enforcements, and lobbying.
  • Appointment of River Scouts: In order to ensure the successful execution of the various river conservation activities, community river scouts have been appointed to patrol and report to their respective WRUAs on any irregularities affecting catchment areas.
  • Monitoring and Information Management: LWF supports WRUAs in carrying out water quality and quantity monitoring to enable effective and equitable planning of water resources.
  • Advocacy and Lobbying: Discourse between WRUAs and both local and national government is key in protecting water resource and biodiversity areas – especially springs and swamps as well as the enactment of water bills and policies. We help Laikipia members represent these issues at appropriate levels.

For more information

Executive Director

Mobile: Tel: +254 726 500260

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