|Securing water and land in the Tana Basin, Kenya: a resource book for water managers and practitioners|
A new manual describes Kenya’s Tana River catchment area and zooms in on what can practically be done in the different parts of the basin to secure land and water. With 800–1,000 km length the Tana River is Kenya’s largest river. A large range of measures can be introduced: bench terraces and tied ridges in the Upper Catchment; retention through sand dams and subsurface dams in the Middle Catchment; flood water management in the Lower Tana; improved agroforestry throughout the area. Much remains to be done – in outscaling successful experiences and introducing new techniques to better secure ecosystems and make use of water buffers.
For many years the need for integrated river basin development and ecosystem management has been discussed and considerable effort has gone into setting up the prerequisite laws, institutions and technical capacity in Kenya and elsewhere. All these efforts are now gradually coming to
The Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA), through its Tana Regional Office has since its establishment in 2005 under the Water Act 2002 been working to put water resources management ‘on the ground’ – among others by issuing and enforcing water use permits and charges. WRMA is also supporting the development of Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs) at sub-catchment level. The WRUAs develop and plan improvements in water resources management in their area of jurisdiction – identifying investments and also overseeing the regulation of water abstraction.
By the time of development of this manual, the Tana Catchment consisted of about 241 subcatchments. As we write 56 Water Resources Users Associations are in place and have developed Sub-Catchment Management Plans, while half of them are implementing their plans through funding from different sources. These efforts are done so as to put integrated river basin management in practice – and not only at high policy level but also more importantly down-to-earth in the different sub-catchments through thousands of local appropriate measures. It is my belief that basin management needs to happen everywhere in the basin through the WRUAs to have a chance of success.
The manual describes the Tana catchment area and zooms in on what can practically be done in the different parts of the basin to secure land and water.