Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC) Project
Sustainable use of natural resources is crucial for maintaining the basis for sustainable livelihood. However, globally, the water sector is facing multiple challenges such as population growth, urbanization, poverty, climate change and natural resource degradation that negatively impact on water resources and ecosystem services in general. These challenges are further compounded by systematic failures of water management at all levels as well as lack of appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks resulting in increasing scarcity of this vital resource. The WLRC project intends to address these challenges with the main aim of influencing the global policy dialogue on IWRM, while also focusing on access to water by the poor, ensuring environmental services and at the same time minimizing related conflicts.
The Water and Land Resource Centre Project (with support from the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern (Switzerland)) and an International Advisory Group is being implemented in two phases, with phase one which has just been concluded (April 2011 to March, 2013) establishing two resource centres on land and water management in Ethiopia and Kenya/Tanzania, respectively with the main goal of producing knowledge and products for policy and practice for sustainable development. The overall goal of the project is to improve water and land management and governance aimed at minimizing related conflicts in the regions.
Achievements in WLRC Phase I
During the phase 1 of the project, remarkable achievements have been realized in both countries.
Specifically in Kenya/ Tanzania, institutional collaboration with key two key institutions, WRMA (Kenya) and PBWB (Tanzania) formalized through MoUs and strengthened through joint activities. For example, the monitoring network within the observatory was revitalized with the rehabilitation and installation of 5 automatic river gauging stations (Ecolog 500) and 2 automatic weather stations.
River gauging station at the point of collapse due to severely erosion (Left), Data logging chart from semi-automatic RGS (Middle) and state-of-art automatic RGS, Ecolog 500 being configured along the Naromoru river system(Right)
Similarly, 5 WUAs (selected in water conflicts and degradation hotspots subcatchments in the Pangani basin in Tanzania) covering about 80 villages with a population of about 400,000 people were formed and functionalized.
The WUAs in the two countries (Kenya and Tanzania) visited each other for experience sharing. The WRUA Forum in Ewaso Ng’iro basin was institutionalized and a common agenda formed creating a basin-wide platform for water distribution negotiations and conflict management.
WUA representatives from Kenya & Tanzania sharing experiences during the two exchange visits (Water Allocation / distribution
using a common intake in Timau Subcatchment in Kenya (Left) and Water Distribution using Furrow in Mkomazi Subcatchment - Tanzania (Right))
WLRC Phase II
The phase II of the project entails the consolidation of the centres and the up-and out-scaling of the products attained during the Phase I to the national and regional/ transboundary levels. This has been realized through appropriate approaches that link scientific specialization with application, and knowledge emerging from local contexts. Furthermore, the global debates will be linked to the local development context by working at and across multiple scales.
Achievements in WLRC Phase IIDuring the second Phase of the project, the hydromet monitoring network was expanded further downstream to include dry lowlands of Habaswein and Marsabit. This involved the installation of the Habaswein RGS, (which is currently functional although the station experiences weak and unreliable signals for transmitting live data to the CETRAD office server) and Dry River beds along Archer’s Post-Marsabit axis i.e. Seriolipi, Merrile and Melghis. In addition, three more automatic weather stations were installed at Kangeta, Meru, Wamaba and Marsabit. Furthermore, the hotspots of water scarcity in ENNCA were identified and mapped during a three days participatory mapping workshop which brought together a team of carefully selected experts, with long standing involvement in water research and development in the basin. The team brainstormed and extensively discussed the status of water resources and level of utilization in different parts of the basin with a view of isolating and mapping the most vulnerable areas of conflicts (of users) as a clear pointer to key areas of scarcity, the so called hot spots of water scarcity.
In addition, a web-based information and knowledge sharing platform, commonly known as CETRAD SHIP, was developed and launched. The SHIP supports data exchange and sharing between a wide range of stakeholders in research, policy and practice. This information sharing initiative enables the multiple users who range from local communities to multinational institutions, make informed decisions on sustainable management of both land and water resources at local, national and transnational levels.
Moreover, there was increased data and information synthesis and integration which led to production of decision support and project implementation products. There was production of six key products as technical reports and/or published documents for public consumptions. These products include:
i) Smartphone technology for Participatory Resource Monitoring and Mapping;ii) Kiswahili version of volumes 1 and 2 of the WRUA Development Cycle (WDC);iii) WRUA Training Needs Assessment Report;iv) Land cover/use classification concept and methodology;v) Upper Ewaso Ng’iro sub-catchment directory and;vi) A Policy Brief on Commercial Horticulture in Kenya: Adapting to Water ScarcityThe revised sub catchment directory covering 21 sub catchments of upper ENNCA developed in a participatory approach with the WRUAs (left) and translated WDC Swahili version (right)
WLRC Phase IIIThe phase III of the project focuses on consolidation, dissemination, and application of gathered information and knowledge in order to further increase WRLC’s effectiveness and impact in knowledge-based support to water and land governance and management in the region. Under this Phase, there are three important and promising concrete thrusts: (i) The consolidation and application of the early conflict warning system and respective countermeasures in the Ewaso Ng’iro Basin against the background of the fast transformations to be expected in the lower basin in relation with transnational infrastructure development (e.g. LAPSSET); (ii) The expansion of the knowledge platform approach to the four other large basins of Kenya against the background of the likely decentralization of water management functions from the national to the basin level; and (iii), The promotion of water-related institution building at the grass-roots level in and beyond the Ewaso Ng’iro – including transnational learning processes on water governance – against the background of ongoing decentralization and democratization processes in the water sector. This third phase of WLRC project runs for three years from January 2016 to December 2018.