The Constitution of Kenya 2010 has placed certain key requirements to be met, as regards water resources management, by the National Government.  In particular, Article 35 confers to every person the right to: 1: access information (Water Resources Management Information) held by the State and 3: the state shall publish and publicize this information as it affects the Nation.

 Article 42 confers to every person the right to a clean and healthy environment. Clean and safe water is central to this environment; Article 43(d) confers to every person the right to clean water and safe water in adequate quantities;
The management of water Resources in this country must therefore be geared towards achieving these constitutional requirements.

The National Water Resources Management Strategy 2012-2017

Kenya’s national policy on water Resource management and development is articulated in the sessional Paper number 1 of 1999 .The main thrust of the policy is to domesticate the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the country’s approach in the water sector.

To operationalize the policy, a new law; the water act 2002 was therefore enacted. The law provides for the development of a National Water Resources Management Strategy. This provides clear guidelines on how water resources will be controlled developed and managed in the country. The current version, formulated by the Ministry in charge of water affairs, is NWRMS 2012-2017.

Guiding policy Direction for its formulation

The formulation of the NWRMS 2012-2017 was guided by the following documents; The Constitution of Kenya 2010, The sessional paper no. one of 1999 on Water Resources Management and Development, Water Act 2002, Vision 2030, Guidelines on the use of Trans boundary water resources, The draft Irrigation and drainage policy, The draft National Rain Water Harvesting and storage policy; and the draft Land Reclamation policy.

Strategic Objectives

To implement the strategy, eight strategic objectives have been formulated as follows;
To improve water resources assessment and develop system for information dissemination
To strengthen roles of gender and stakeholders participation in water Resources Management
To promote the functioning of integrated approaches to water resources and catchment management and livelihood enhancement
To create mechanisms for coordination of measures that enhance that availability and access of water resources of suitable quality and quantity where and when it is needed
To strengthen the systems that will promote the sharing of data and information on water use and demand
To create mechanisms for provide sector financing so as to improve opportunities for sustainable financing in water resources subsector
Develop proactive mechanisms for implementing disaster management strategies namely flood, droughts pollution and landslides.
To promote the use of trans-boundary water resources.

National Water Master Plan (NWMP) 2030
NWMP 2030 aims at assessing and evaluating availability, reliability, quality, and vulnerability of country’s water resources up to around the year 2050 taking into consideration climate change. It also aims to renew the National Water Master Plan towards the year 2030 (NWMP 2030) taking into consideration climate change. Moreover, it seeks to formulate action plan for activities of WRMA Regional offices up to the year 2022 in order to strengthen their capability, and to strengthen capacity of water resources management.

Water Demand by Catchment Areas

The main components of water demand are domestic, industrial, irrigation, livestock, wildlife and inland fisheries uses. Athi Catchment has negative values for SW indicating that the catchment is facing tremendous severe water shortage as the large water demand is exceeding the renewable surface water resources. Both increase and decrease trends are seen within all the catchments.The groundwater resources potential for development is high in Rift Valley, Tana and Ewaso Ngiro North catchments, however the specific potential per unit area of Ewaso Ngiro North Catchment is not so high comparing with Rift Valley and Tana catchments.

Water demand Vs availability
Catchment Area     2010     2030     2050
          Water Resources    Water Demand   Water Resources  Water Demand      Water Resources Water Demand
LVNCA     4,742     228     5%     5,077     1,337     26%     5,595     1,573     28%
LVSCA     4,976     385     8%     5,937     2,953     50%     7,195     3,251     45%
RVCA     2,559     357     14%     3,147     1,494     47%     3,903     1,689     43%
ACA     1,503     1,145     76%     1,634     4,586     281%     2,043     5,202     255%
TCA     6,533     891     14%     7,828     8,241     105%     7,891     8,476     107%
ENNCA     2,251     212     9%     3,011     2,857     95%     1,810     2,950     163%
Total     22,564     3,218     14%     26,634     21,468     81%     28,437     23,141     81%

In 2010, ACA has a high water deficit/water demand ratio of 65% which is much larger than ratios of other catchment areas, because ACA has two large cities of Nairobi and Mombasa. In 2030, the water deficit/water demand ratio will increase in all catchment areas due to drastic water demand growth compared with the year 2010. Especially, the ratios of RVCA, TCA and ENNCA will increase substantially.

The need for proper and effective water allocation and enforcement is therefore underscored.

Planning concept and framework

NWMP 2030 has based the planning on the six catchment areas, which are the management units of WRMA. NWMP 2030 has the following nine component plans:

Development Plans
Water Supply Development Plan,  Sanitation Development Plan, Irrigation Development Plan, Hydropower Development Plan, and Water Resources Development Plan.
Management Plans
Water Resources Management Plan, Flood and Drought Disaster Management Plan and Environmental Management Plan
Institutional Plan
Institutional Strengthening Plan
Water Allocation Policy
Prioritisation of Water Allocation for NWMP 2030
Priority     Water Use


1     Reserve consisting of ecological and basic human needs.
       The reserve amount has been set at 95% value of the naturalised daily flow duration curve for each river in accordance with WRMA Guidelines for Water Allocation and the probability applied is one in 10 years .
2     Existing water uses for domestic, industrial, irrigation and hydropower, and existing inter-basin
Transfer water   (International obligation to allocate water is not considered, because there is no international commitments so far.) The confidence level is one in  10 years except for irrigation which is 1 in 5 years.
3     New domestic and industrial water uses. Confidence level of one in 10 years
4     New livestock, wildlife and inland fishery water uses. Confidence level of one in 10 years
5     New irrigation water use. Confidence level of one in 5 years
6     New hydropower generation use. Confidence level of one in 10 years
Source:   JICA Study Team, based on the Guidelines for Water Allocation (First Edition, 2010) and Water Act (2002).

WRM issues and challenges

The issues in water management include; Rising Population hence increased water demand; extensive catchment degradation due to poor land use practices; Water resources underdeveloped; Climate variability and resultant loss of lives , property and infrastructure; High investment costs in storage.

Catchment degradation causing increased runoff, flash flooding, reduced infiltration, erosion and siltation. The main causes of catchment degradation are poor land use practices, population pressure (forest excision for resettlement) and deforestation (for agricultural land and fuel wood). Catchment degradation will invariably affect surface water availability as rivers and reservoirs will dry up.

Implementing Water Resource Management through WRUAs

Water Resources User Association (WRUA)is a community based voluntary organization formed around a specific water resource (river, wetland, spring or aquifer) for management and harmonious use of water. WRUA are modeled for public and stakeholders participation in Water Resource Management on sub-catchment level.

WRUAs – through the support of WRMA – implement IWRM on the ground through development and implementation of sub-catchment management plans (SCMPs).Through WRUAs support organizations, Government departments & donors/financial agencies get entry to communities needs.

Roles and functions of WRUAs

Development & implementation of SCMPs to improve catchment protection; increase water availability, storage and quality; Promote good management practices for efficient and sustainable use of the water. They also create a forum for water use conflict resolution and discussion of WRM issues at local level and ensure water reserves to meet demands of the environment and the communities. They also serve as avenues for resource mobilization to sustain WRUA activities.


The following eight strategic actions for the institutional strengthening have been proposed at the national and regional level to resolve the prevailing and future water use issues.

Define a Concrete Framework of Water Resources Management- include all water uses for regulation
Establish Monopolistic and Unified Regulation of Water Resources at the National and Regional Levels ( The river basin/aquifer approach)
Unitary Management of Water Rights and Basin Water Resources
Development Plans- linking water rights to water resources development.
Establish Scientific and Quantitative Management of Water Resources- decision making to be based on accurate data
Enhance Supply Side Management and Demand Side Management (resources development, efficient water use, recycling, re use & reduction)
Capacity Development of WRMA Regional Offices
Enhance d establishment and Strengthening of Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs)
Improvement of Financial Capacity for the Water Resources Management.

This part of the paper was  presented by Water Resource Management Authority(WRMA) at the last IEK conference

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