Land use change, water availability and adaptation strategies in changing and variable climate in Kajiado north, Kenya
Water is a fundamental natural resource for all life on the planet, as both social and economic activities depend heavily on water. In Kenya like many other countries in sub Saharan Africa, water resources are becoming scarce due to climate change, change in land use and high population growth. The study was conducted in Kajiado North with principal objectives of (a) determining the magnitude and pattern of land use changes that have occurred in the past 20 years in Kajiado North (b) assessing the effect of climate change and variability on water resources and (c) assessing the perception of rainwater harvesting as a coping strategy to climate change and variability. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to 220 respondents chosen randomly in Isinya and Ngong‟ sub-counties to explore the perceptions about rainwater harvesting and the data analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). To determine the magnitude and pattern of land use change, Participatory GIS (PGIS) and focus group discussions were conducted from 4 sub locations within the study area and the PGIS maps subjected to Arc view software and Map info for analysis. Results from PGIS maps revealed significant increase in settlement of 3.75% from 1990-2000 and 6.5% from 2000 to 2010 and a significant decrease in grassland of 4.6% from 1990 to 2000 and 7.2% from 2000 to 2010. The main sources of water are boreholes (33.7%), followed by piped water (25.5%) and rainwater harvesting was 15.8%. Climate change has affected water resources through drought (30%), runoff and erosion (21%) and increased evaporation (20%). 100% of the respondents have heard about rain water harvesting in one way or the other. 87% of the respondents harvest water. Some harvest it on their households storing it in containers which take less than a month to finish. Majority of the respondents (80.2%) use the harvested water for domestic use, (5.8%) of the harvested water from the tanks is used for irrigating crops and the least (1.4%) is used for livestock. There was no significant difference on the involvement in rainwater harvesting for both men and women. Only 13% of the residents do not harvest water at all. This is because of lack of equipments and storage facilities. In addition, there is lack of involvement of government and other institutions in rain water harvesting. Based on the results, it was concluded that there is a significant change in land use which has affected the communities both positively and negatively. Climate change has a significant negative impact on agriculture activities in the area as it leads to reduction in crop yields and increased food prices. People are aware of rainwater harvesting but it is not being utilized to its full potential. However the level of income is the major factor that influences the adoption of rain water harvesting at a large scale. The study recommends that there is need for a constant monitoring of land use change for planning purposes, with the change in climate appropriate adaptation are essential as the prices of agricultural commodities are projected to increase in both domestic and world markets. Forming associations on water harvesting and constructing dams at local level as a group can be used as a solution to the water storage problems to improve Agriculture production. However, involvement of institutions, especially for technical expertise would enhance the group water harvesting interventions.