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What is the Water Resources Investment?

Catchment and Water Resources Protection, Kibwezi (Water Resources Investments)The Water Resources Investment (WRI) commenced in 2008, motivated by the fact that a big part of the population was not connected to the water network, making dependence on natural water resources inevitable. Consequently, the conservation of catchment areas and the protection of water resources was a necessity.

The Water Resources Investment is mandated to monitor, conserve and manage the water resources and catchment areas for sustainable economic development in Kenya. This is done through appraising and funding Water Resources Users Association (WRUA) and Community Forest Association (CFA) proposals in their Water Resources Management. WRUAs, through the implementation of Sub-Catchment Management Plans (SCMPs), manage and conserve the water resources within their respective sub-catchments. CFAs on the other hand, through the implementation of their respective Participatory Forest Management Plans (PFMPs), assist in rehabilitation and increase of the forest cover, the major sources of rivers in Kenya.

The objectives of the Water Resources Investment are to:

  • Improve the quantity and quality of water resources for enhanced livelihoods,
  • Improve the ability of the catchment and riparian areas to provide hydrological services,
  • Ensure the governance of water resources by promoting stakeholder participation in water resources management,
  • Improve compliance to protect water resources by promoting stakeholder participation in water resources management,
  • Develop well governed and self-reliant WRUAs.

 

Development Partners

The Water Resources Investment currently has three programmes financed by 1) The governments of Finland and Sweden, 2) The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and 3) Denmark (DANIDA). The Kenyan government covers operational costs of the Water Fund while other funds support the development of projects depending on the funding agreements of specific partners. Within the framework of devolution, the development partners are now accessing the beneficiaries through the counties.

The governments of Finland and Sweden support WRUA activities in the six counties of Kwale, Laikipia, Migori, Nandi, Narok and Tharaka Nithi in a programme referred to as J6P.

DANIDA, on the other hand, supports WRUA activities in the six counties of Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Marsabit, Tana River and Wajir in a programme known as Medium Term Arid and Semi-arid lands Project (MTAP). So far DANIDA has supported the programme in two phases, MTAP I & II.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) supports a programme in the six counties of Upper Tana Catchment known as Upper Tana Natural Resources Management Project (IFAD-UTaNRMP). This covers both CFAs and WRUAs in the Mount Kenya and Aberdares’ regions of Tana Catchment. The beneficiary counties are Embu, Kirinyaga, Meru, Murang’a, Nyeri and Tharaka Nithi.

A total of 17 counties are currently benefiting from the Water Fund’s support (out of which one county, i.e. Tharaka Nithi, is benefiting from two programmes).

Prior to county devolution, 312 WRUA projects had been funded and the lessons learnt have been used to improve the Water Resources Investment Unit.

 

How the Water Resources Investment works

The Water Resources Investment finances activities based on proposals by the WRUAs and the CFAs. The WRUAs channel their proposals through the Water Resources Management Authority while the CFAs channel theirs through the Kenya Forest Service to WSTF within the Water Resources Users Association Development Cycle (WDC). WRUAs that have identified relevant water resource management issues can plan and come up with proposals for funding from the Water Fund. Any funding is preceded by signing an MOU with the Water Fund to govern the manner in which the grant is managed by the WRUA and to clearly stipulate the roles and responsibilities.

The proposals are assessed through a number of criteria, of which one is the degree of degradation of the concerned area that is classified as alarm, alert or satisfactory. Others include the poverty index, access to quality water services and sanitation coverage. The financing of WRUAs through WSTF happens at various categories from level 1 to level 4. After one level is implemented, accounted and audited, the WRUA becomes eligible for the next level of funding. WSTF's county resident monitors are responsible for conducting a regular monitoring of the activities.

The levels are as follows:

  1. Level 1 costs KES 1.5 million: Capacity development and development of the Sub-Catchment Management Plans (SCMPs)
  2. Level 2 costs KES 5 million: Activities from the SCMP
  3. Level 3 costs KES 10 million: Activities from the SCMP
  4. Level 4 costs KES 30 million: Activities from the SCMP

The Water Resources Investment is specifically aimed at capacity building of the WRUAs, development of the sub-catchment management plans (SCMPs) or participatory forest management plan (PFMP), and implementation of the SCMP and PFMP activities. To begin with, every WRUA needs to develop an SCMP whereas the CFAs are supposed to develop a PFMP.

Capacity building of the CFAs and development of the PFMPs is done by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). The financing of CFAs through WSTF happens at various categories but with a ceiling of KES 2 million.

 

Achievements of the Water Resources Investment

The Water Resources Investment has registered success in a number of areas. In the financial year 2015-2016, the Water Resources Investment funded a total of 61 WRUAs and 18 CFAs at a disbursement of KES 161,389,682 and KES 23,103,332.20 respectively. The total cost of the Water Resources Investment was KES 184,493,014.20.

Financing of WRUA and CFA activities countrywide has resulted in environmental sustainability and increase in forest cover through rehabilitation. This was aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals’ target No. 7 and realising the Vision 2030 goals.

Through the Water Resources Users Association Development Cycle, the Water Resources Investment has created awareness about catchment conservation and protection of natural water resources within communities countrywide. Furthermore, the Water Resources Investment has given birth to centres of excellence in each of the six Water Resources Management Authority catchment regions to act as model WRUAs to other upcoming WRUA groups within the specific regions.

The key elements of the Water Resources Investment’s success

The Water Resources Investment’s success is based on a number of factors. One important issue is that the lessons learnt from previous projects are used to improve the activities. Furthermore, the Water Resources Investment recognises a number of cross-cutting issues that assure the success of the activities. Mainstreaming of livelihood components, as well as gender and social inclusion in the SCMP activities, ensures sustainability of WRUA activities and thus conservation and protection of the catchments.

 

> For success stories on our investments, including Water Resources Investments, explore our stories here

> For further information on the Water Resources Investments, including pictorial and tabulated achievements, see the Maji Insight 2015-2016 Report available here

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