During the dry season, many communities in Kenya struggle to find enough water to meet their daily needs. As climate change continues to make the dry seasons hotter and longer, and the floods during the rainy season more powerful and destructive, these challenges only grow. Planning for a changing climate can help make the environment more resilient to change.
In June, KIWASH led a five -day workshop with the Kitui, Makueni and Nairobi county departments of water and the environment, water service providers (WSPs), county meteorological departments and the National Water Resource Authority (WRA) to develop climate-resilient water security policies. Some of the topics in the workshop include: policy and advocacy, identifying water resources, vulnerability assessments, water safety planning and environmental monitoring.
In Makueni County, Urbanus Kitavi is the WSP coordinator for the Kibwezi-Makindu, Mbooni, and Wote Water and Sanitation Companies. He describes instances where a lack of water security at the one spring in the Makindu area has disrupted the ecosystem to the point where water production and the supply of water is threatened for communities that rely on it.
After the workshop, Urbanus reflects on how his new knowledge will help the three WSPs to improve and protect water supplies: “The conservation of water sources takes concerted efforts. The workshop has helped identify key players and how we will harmonize our activities with farmers, the National Environmental Management Authority, WARA, the metrological department and the national and county government.”
In Kitui County, Joseph Kimanga is the chief officer for water, environment and natural resources. He confirms that the training came at the right time. “We are in the initial stages of developing a water security policy to protect and develop our water sources. Now we will develop our water sources in a sustainable climate change scenario,” he said. “We will also develop a water master plan to enable us to account for all our water.”
KIWASH will replicate the training in the other eight counties in which KIWASH operates for enhanced institutional climate change resiliency and environmental sustainability.