Factors influencing water use conflicts in Ngarendare and Ngare Niti Wruas of Upper Isiolo subregion.
Kenya’s Vision 2030 has got five pillars of which Social Development is one of them. In the social pillar, environmental protection, rehabilitation and protection of water resources in the five water towers of Kenya are very well highlighted. In the economic pillar, one of the flagship projects of Agriculture sector is ASAL development through provision of water for domestic, livestock and irrigation in ASALs. WRMA is the Government body that regulates water resources in Kenya. One of its roles includes monitoring water resource use and formulating policies that develop the water sector. Some of their policies have culminated in the formation of Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs), to ensure devolved management practices for efficient and sustainable use of the water resources by the users themselves. Despite WRMA efforts in this devolution, water related conflicts have not ended. In the Ewaso Ngiro region water conflicts are a common phenomenon. Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs) are comprised of river users, water projects, riparian land owners and borehole owners who voluntarily associate with a common objective of protecting and sharing a common water resource. The purpose of this study was to establish the factors influencing the water use conflicts in the WRUAs of upper Isiolo sub-region. The objectives were to determine the influence of water sources on water use conflicts in Ngarendare and Ngareniti WRUAs; to determine the influence of water access to water use conflicts in the two WRUAs; to estimate the influence of water demand per household on water use conflicts in the two WRUAs and to determine the influence of the WRUA on water use conflicts in the study area. The sample was the thirty water projects found in the two WRUAs. The sample size was 87 respondents chosen from the membership lists of the water projects. Descriptive survey design was used in the study where systematic sampling was used to identify respondents to whom the questionnaires were administered. Data collected in this study was analyzed using descriptive statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Studies. The results showed that 63% of members got their water from springs, while the water demand had the strongest positive relationship with the water conflict in the study area of 0.89. Influence of the WRUA showed the weakest positive relationship with water conflicts of 0.6. The results also showed that 60% of the members rarely get enough water and that 67.7% of the projects had experienced water related conflicts. The results were presented using frequency tables and graphs to help WRUAs, WRMA and other players in the Water Sector in the region to understand and mitigate water conflicts. The study concluded that there is a positive relationship between water sources and water use conflicts. This means that water is essential for socio-economic development and for maintaining healthy ecosystems. It also concluded that water demand has got the strongest positive relationship with water conflicts and therefore the biggest cause of water conflicts in the sub-region. This study is important to the water projects of the area for they clearly understand the causes, and mitigate water conflicts in the area. It is also be important to the WRUAs, WRMA and Government in providing vital information on policy development for managing water conflicts and water conservation at the grassroots level. It also helps the ground authorities to understand that properly managed water resources are a critical component of growth, poverty reduction and equity. The study recommends that community members be encouraged to participate by mobilizing their own resources, initiating and taking responsibility for their own development activities. The study also recommended that WRUAs and the WRMA should help members in policy implementation at the grassroots.