Access To Water Resources And Conflicts In The Upper Ewaso Nyiro North River Sub-Basin: A Case Of Laikipia County, Kenya
Lesrima, Simeon Saimanga
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The purpose of this study was to assess water access, use, management and conflicts in the Upper Ewaso Nyiro North River Basin: the case of Laikipia County in Kenya. Laikipia and neighbouring Meru and Nyeri Counties have multiplicity of water users who depend mainly on river-water for their livelihood. Laikipia County depends on water from Meru and Nyeri Counties, ground water resources and rain. In spite of past research conducted in the area, reviews in national water policies and institutions on water management, the sub-basin still experiences conflicts between various waters users. Recurring conflicts over decades is an indication that long-term solutions have not been found to solve the problem. The research Questions were: how upstream and downstream water users access, use and manage water; the extent of water related conflicts and whether there is a link between water access, use and management to conflicts. Three specific objectives were: (1) to assess how water users access, use and manage water resources in the study area, (2) assess presence and trends of water related conflicts and (3) investigate effects of access to water, use and management on water conflicts in the study area. The Theory of Access and The Game Theory informed the study. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. Upstream and downstream zones dividing line was set at altitude 1800 (m.a.s.l). Data was collected using primary and secondary sources. Primary data collection tools were; structured questionnaires, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, transect, drives and walks. Descriptive statistics were used for quantitative data analysis (SPSS version 23) and summative content analysis was applied for qualitative data analysis. The results show that 87% and 45.5% of the households from upstream and downstream respectively source water from household taps. On water uses, the study results show that 45.1% and 43.7% of the respondents mention pastoralists and farmers upstream and downstream respectively as the largest consumers of water in the study area. The study further found that 43.7% and 46.9% of the respondents downstream and upstream respectively point at pastoralists as the largest water users in the study area. The study findings indicate that the study area had rules and regulation in place to manage water resources as shown by 88% of the respondent who admitted to awareness of existence of management water rules and regulations. Results show that 71.4% of the respondents go on to suggest adherence to rules regulations as major strategies to apply in order to ensure equity in water access. The study findings also find that 66.7% and 49.4% of downstream and upstream households respectively agree on the presence of water related conflicts in the study area. The households further indicate that water conflicts in the study area are seasonal (60.7%) and unpredictable (26.6%). Majority (78%) of the respondents were confident that the institutions they reported water conflicts occurrence to had the capacity and ability to deal with theproblem. The results showed that water access, use and management had significant effect on conflicts. The study concluded that there is a link between accesses, use and management water to conflicts in the study area and that inequalities in water access is due to ineffective water management institutions. The study recommends adherence to water rules and regulations.
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