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Efforts To Curb Water Conflicts in Tana River region

29 August 2012, 16:53 Kelvin Mureithi

Meru County, which is part of The Tana Region, has been prone to water conflicts due to numerous abstractions in the entire catchment that occasionally led to conflicts over water use especially due to suspected over – abstraction mainly in the upper and middle reaches of rivers leaving limited balance for the downstream users.

Water resource management authority has embarked on a series of activities aimed at alleviating these conflicts. One of the major activities is the participatory Sub-Catchment Management Plan (SCMP).

Ngaciuma River developed a SCMP in 2007 to guide water resource use and management in the catchment. One of the key activities identified in the SCMP was to conduct a detailed abstraction survey for the main rivers and tributaries.

The abstraction survey for Ngaciuma River was conducted by WRMA and the Water Resource Users Association formed in the year 2008/2009 through the support of GTZ water programme.

One of the recommendations was merging of intakes at convenient sites to discourage competition for water abstraction ensuring equitable resources sharing as well as a sustainable management of the water resources.

Speaking during the commissioning of the common water intake at Ngakinya area, WRMA CEO Phillip Olum, the Authority has embarked on an inclusive strategy for participatory management and use of the scarce water resource to alleviate water use conflicts and promote integrated water resource management.

Olum added that WRMA was geared towards having all other areas construct common intakes and urged people living in water catchment areas to engage in the management of the resource and come up with groups and Sub-Catchment Plans which he promised to fund so as to reduce water conflicts between the upstream and downstream users.

To support these interventions, water users are required to pay water use charges on time so as to enable the Authority deliver mandated services.

The WRUA chairman Samuel Mwongera said that they have had water conflicts in the past that led to families and groups fighting. But with the intervention of WRMA to help construct the Common Intake, he and all the residents we now happy that water use will be regulated and well managed and that the whole community will benefit more from the resource.

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