Kenya 2030 WRG Governing Board Endorses New Catchment Stewardship and Industrial Water Management Proposals

This April, the Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group Governing Board welcomed the Kenya Bankers Association into its membership and unanimously endorsed two project proposals aimed at strengthening catchment management by professionalizing water resource users associations (WRUAs) and reducing the discharge of untreated effluent into the environment by incentivizing industrial water users to treat and re-use effluent water.

Strengthening the Governing Board Membership
The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), represented on the Governing Board by Chair, Joshua Oigara, is the financial sector’s leading advocacy group and the umbrella body of institutions licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). With a current membership of 47 financial institutions, KBA is an important private sector stakeholder with the ability to help maximize financing to the water sector.

The meeting also saw three other office bearers take over from their predecessors: H.E Samuel Tunai, Chair of Natural Resources & Trade Committee, Council of Governors; Patrick Kokonya, Chair of the Water Sector Trust Fund; and Clement Tulezi, CEO of the Kenya Flower Council.

“There is a tremendous value to having so many stakeholders around one table as the challenges we are facing can only be met through collective action” said Vimal Shah, Chair of Bidco Africa and co-chair of the Governing Board.

Water Resource User Association (WRUA) Agency Model
The Water Resource User Association (WRUA) Agency model is a mechanism to capacitate WRUAs to work together with the Water Resource Authority (WRA), serving as agents on the ground to ensure equitable and effective management of water resources at the basin level.

Water users within the Ewaso Ng’iro North River Basin have been experiencing increased water insecurity over the last 10-15 years due to small-holder and commercial irrigation activities occurring upstream. Although commercial growers have diversified their water use from rivers to rainwater storage and groundwater, the dry season river flows continue to trend downwards despite concerted efforts by Water Resources Authority (WRA), Water Resources User Associations (WRUAs) and commercial growers. Failure to manage the shared water resources puts existing businesses, livelihoods and the environment at risk with increasing conflicts with downstream water users.

Participants welcomed the project, noting that WRUAs are often better positioned to collect revenue than WRA, which is not on the ground in communities where abstractions occur; currently the authority is able to collect revenue for less than half of existing abstractions as a result of uncontrolled and un-permitted abstraction activities.

The proposal will see the model piloted with five WRUAs. Further discussions with WRA and the Ministry of Water and Sanitation will continue to be held to finalize the concept and move to piloting.

The Trade Effluent Management System (TEMS)
2030 WRG is working together with Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company Ltd. and Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company Ltd. to develop a Trade Effluent Management System to address challenges of effluent management, promote investment in waste water pre-treatment, reuse and environmental conservation and overall address water security challenges.

While clear standards for discharge into public sewers exist, license conditions compelling the industries to pre-treat their effluent before discharging into the sewer system have not been effectively enforced. The EMCA 1999 law espouses the use of the Polluter Pays Principle (3P) as guiding principle to enforce citizen’s entitlement to a clean environment, however, the current tariff mechanism for wastewater implemented by WSPs in Kenya does not adequately reflect the 3P.

3P supposes that the “cost” of un(der)-treated effluent should be borne by the polluter and not by society. It is a mechanism for incentivizing effluent treatment and water re-use by decreasing their relative cost compared to discharging effluent into the environment without adequately treating it first.

Currently, most WSPs charge a flat tariff, which does not take into account the actual quantity and quality of discharge. A commercial user discharging high levels of toxic chemicals is charged the same as one discharging grey water, despite their significantly disparate impacts on the environment, sewerage infrastructure, and public health. Recognizing this challenge, urban WSPs and the Water Services Regulatory Board have expressed the need to develop a risk-based effluent management system based on the 3P.

Participants welcomed the TEMS proposal as it addresses a critical need. The issue of trade effluent that affects the public sewerage system is a high priority, and the biggest sanitation challenge is Nairobi City. Based on the success of these two pilots, there is an opportunity to transition towards a national scale-up to other urban centres.

During the meeting, Joy Busulo, Senior Water Resource Management Specialist and Kenya Country Coordinator provided an update on the various 2030 WRG workstreams.

Guest speaker, Rosemary Rop, Senior Gender Coordinator and Water Management Consultant, WBG, gave a presentation on integrating gender perspectives in water. She challenged 2030 WRG to not only to account for gender in its programming, but also be creator of knowledge and evidence that can help influence future change.

Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water and Sanitation and Chari of the Governing Board closed the meeting by reminding participants that water is a critical enabler to the Big 4 Agenda. He encouraged attendees to “take forward the proposals and recommendations of the meeting with due seriousness and purpose, and to deliver well.”


Natasha Skreslet
Regional Communications Officer – Africa

2018 Annual Report: Local Innovations for Global Water Security

The track record of the 2030 WRG in stewarding Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs) from dialogue to action and impact is growing and has shown significant results in Fiscal Year 2018 (1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018). A total of 746 partners (308 from the private sector, 154 from government, 284 from civil society/other) participating in MSPs in 14 countries/states, have created working relationships across stakeholders and helped to break down traditional silos to establish MSPs that survive changes in government.

The year was mostly focused on the hosting transition from the International Finance Corporation to the World Bank Water Global Practice. As part of this new arrangement, Kristalina Georgieva, at the time Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank Group, appointed Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development, as Co-Chair of the 2030 WRG Governing Council to serve together with Paul Bulcke, Chairman of Nestlé. As the 2030 WRG welcomed new Steering Board Members, the year offered the opportunity to revisit work program priorities as well as 2030 WRG communication efforts. This new and revised Annual Report aims to focus more on impact and innovation stories, showcasing collective action and partner contributions.

We hope you enjoy the read!

Cover ARFY18 for web

Read or download the 2018 Annual Report »

The Guardian: Stakeholders chart path to access irrigation technology

NEWS SOURCE: The Guardian (IPP Media)

BY: James Kandoya, Guardian Reporter


Stakeholders in agriculture, finance and water sectors met yesterday in Dar Es Salaam to chart the path forward to make it easier for the country’s smallholder and emerging farmers to access financing for irrigation technologies.

The move aims to improve irrigation efficiency while also expanding the amount of land under irrigation.

The consortium, which includes the Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT), National Irrigation Commission (NIrC), Private Agricultural Support Trust (PASS), Rikolto, Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB), Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA), and Tanzania 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) – a public-private-civil society partnership hosted by the World Bank Group – is establishing a partnership that leverages their combined networks to link smallholder farmers with appropriate financing for irrigation investments.

The collaboration supports the mandate of NIrC to strengthen private sector engagement in irrigation through financing, equipment-supply, and co-investment.

Click Here to Read the Article>>

Community problems can only be resolved by community-led solutions

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP)–an initiative facilitated by 2030 WRG and supported by the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF)–has been supporting Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs) in Kenya to manage their shared water resources. We interviewed Joy Makena, Manager of the Teleswani WRUA in Meru County, Kenya, about her experience leading her community from water conflict to collective action.

Joy Makena holding a guide to the 2016 Water Act

Joy Makena grew up in a farming family in Meru County, Kenya. On their family plot, her parents grew beans, maize, potatoes, and wheat. Having sufficient water for their crops was never a worry because her parents’ farm sat in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin, which received an abundance of water from the glaciers on Mount Kenya. “During those days, the river was full. Villagers who needed to cross the river did so on bridges,” recalls Joy. Today, villagers simply wade across the river.

The receding river presents a host of problems. Each dry season, the river is reduced to a mere stream. As the number of people and animals competing for scarce water resources grows, so do tensions within the community. When pastoralists downstream struggle to find water for their cattle, they move upstream in search of increasingly scarce grazing land and water. The upward-bound cattle pass through private property, destroying crops and livelihoods. Meanwhile, smallholder farmers located downstream, believing that smallholder farmers upstream have unfairly diverted water for their crops, destroy those farmers’ irrigation canals and crops in retaliation. The conflicts that ensue sometimes result in deadly violence.

Joy was deeply troubled by such conflicts in her community. “I wanted to understand my community’s problems, from my community’s perspective. I wanted to be part of the solution,” says Joy.

She believed that community problems can only be resolved by community-led solutions and decided to join her local water resource user association (WRUA).

In Kenya, WRUAs are voluntary associations of water users legally mandated to collectively manage common water resources. They function as a kind of localized extension to the national Water Resources Authority (WRA). They are responsible for supplying people within their catchment with sufficient quantity of good quality water, especially during dry spells. This is a gargantuan task, but that is not all. WRUAs are also charged with conserving and protecting the water catchment, preserving riverine forests and the riparian ecosystem, preventing pollution of the rivers, and establishing and enforcing water-use rules.

Despite this long list of responsibilities, WRUAs suffer from chronic underfunding. Joy’s WRUA, for example, is financed exclusively by money raised through community water projects; this amount is only a fraction of what is needed. As a result, Joy’s WRUA, like many other WRUAs, are often unable to effectively monitor and regulate water usage or enforce regulations.

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP)–an initiative facilitated by 2030 WRG and supported by the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF)–has been working with WRUAs like Joy’s since 2016 to build their capacity and facilitate interactions between the community and government agencies.

Among many other things, MKEWP supports WRUA members to collectively inventory water-use and advocate for water management priorities within the five-year plans outlining county development goals that inform the national budgeting process. They also monitor water-use, identify illegal water abstraction in the river basin, and facilitate conflict resolution.

In March 2013, two months into her new position as her WRUA’s manager, Joy visited a group of farmers as part of a water-monitoring initiative. Thinking that Joy and her colleagues were there to take away their land, the group of farmers chased after Joy and her colleagues with their machetes. In the minds of many smallholder farmers, water and land go hand in hand. To them, any effort to curb their water use was equivalent to a threat on their land ownership. That day, Joy discovered the full extent of misinformation and distrust in the community that she would have to overcome as the manager of her WRUA.

Joy began visiting members in the community and listening to their stories. She encouraged them, even those who were hostile to her, to participate in WRUA meetings where they could openly and safely voice their concerns and learn about how they can better manage their shared water resources.

In 2017, the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin experienced an unusually long dry spell. The traditional rationing program—which called for the basin to be divided into two zones, with each zone having access to water on a two-day rotation basis—was not working. A group of people from the community stormed into Joy’s office, demanding for their share of the river’s water. “I was so scared, but I knew that I must reassure them that the WRUA will come up with a plan to ensure sufficient water supply for everyone,” Joy recalled.

Accordingly, the WRUA implemented a two-day non-abstraction period each week to help reinstate water flow. Shortly after, Joy received a call from one of the community members who had stormed into her office. Instead of threats, he simply said “Thank you, madam.”

The plan to institute a two-day non-abstraction period was a success. For the remaining period of that dry spell, everyone received the amount of water they needed and no one in the community had turned against each other. “I cannot even begin to describe the joy I felt. I have managed to do something for my community,” Joy recounts.

MKEWP council members after their meeting

Joy’s hard work and courage are continuing to pay off. People in the community are showing up at WRUA meetings and are becoming savvy about water resources management. Having a space to air their grievances and listen to their neighbors’ worries enabled groups in the community to build trust and empathy and work together to solve their common water challenges. Together, members of the WRUA have already come up with a number of new community projects to better manage their shared water resources. As far as Joy knows, there have been no new conflicts.

But Joy believes that there are more opportunities to make her community more secure and peaceful. She would like to see the WRUA come up with more projects, particularly projects that can help farmers store water for use during the dry seasons. She hopes that the WRUA will become self-sustaining, and wants to get more elderly people, women, and youth interested and involved in managing their community’s water.

But Joy has another aspiration for the WRUA—she wants to see more women in leadership positions.

“Women are key to better water management. They fetch water for their families, they farm, they cook, and they clean. They understand firsthand the importance of water for the wellbeing of their families, and they have tremendous power to create lasting change,” says Joy.

She is already seeing more interest from women in the community and is confident that they will rise to the challenges that stand in the way water security in their community.

To take Joy one step closer to her aspirations for her WRUA, MKEWP is in the process of piloting a Water Resource User Association (WRUA) Agency model as a mechanism to effectively finance and capacitate WRUAs to work together with WRA, serving as agents on the ground to ensure equitable and effective management of water resources at the basin level.

Story written by Meei Child (2030 WRG) with support from Natasha Skreslet (2030 WRG) and Wesley Kipng’enoh (Laikipia Wildlife Forum/Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership)