Friday, August 29, 2014
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Sustainable management of water resources in Mt. Kenya catchment zone

Water resources are the planet's last great living wilderness, man's only remaining peaceful frontier on earth, and perhaps his last chance to reproduce himself as a rational species.”


Date: 13th and 14th September
Venue: Sportsmans Arms Hotel, Nanyuki

Preamble


Kimathi University College of Technology, Chuka University College and Meru University College of Science and Technology are planning a joint stakeholders’ workshop on water resources in Mt. Kenya catchment area. The main theme of the workshop is “Sustainable Water Resource Management for Mt. Kenya Catchment area.” This broader theme is divided into five subthemes: Water resources management, Policies on water resources, Water and Agriculture, Climate change, Hydrology of Mt. Kenya region and Water quality assessment using biotic indicators. The workshop is targeting to attract a diverse group of participants from the private sector, NGOs, government agencies, donor organizations, university researchers and key stakeholders in the water sector.

Water and life
Lack of water of adequate quality and quantity is a major constraint to development in many areas of the world. It affects every aspect of human life: health, agricultural yields, food security, technical development, and the economy of states. Water scarcity and water quality problems are of particular concern in the tropical regions of the world where many countries are less developed. In these regions, there is often a connection between poor water resources and poverty. Water balances (precipitation– evaporation) are often negative, and climatic change has far-reaching social and economic effects. Pollution of water resources is also common mainly due to lack of societal infrastructure such as sanitation, garbage handling, adequate water pipes and treatment plants. A great number of people in the tropics rely on scarce and low-quality water sources, a problem that cascades from individual level to household and national scales and which inhibits development and affects human welfare.
The United Nations General Assembly and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development both highlighted fresh water as one of the key global issues of this century. They stressed the need for more effective water management around the world and the key role business can play in taking effective action. The assembly recognizes that the competing water needs of agriculture, the community and industry have to be balanced to promote sustainability.
The 7th UN Millennium Development Goal (ensuring environmental sustainability) states that by the year 2015 nations must work progressively to halve the number of people without access to safe drinking water and acceptable sanitation. Furthermore, chapter 18 of Agenda 21 highlights the protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources for the benefit of the Earths ecosystem as well as human population. Water stressed regions are further threatened by climate change. For Africa, there are predictions that climate change is a potential danger to future water and food security. However, it is imperative to recognize that the situations in many African countries are neither hopeless nor are they unmanageable.
Out of Kenya’s population of approximately 38 million, a considerable portion (75 %) is living in rural areas where rain-fed farming and livestock keeping are the main livelihoods. Moreover, the population is increasing at a rate of 2.6 % per year. Kenya is classified as a water scarce country with annual water supplies below 1000 m3/person. The situation is predicted to worsen drastically within the near future. In semiarid regions, temperatures are projected to increase and precipitation decline by 2030 due to climate change. Some figures estimate annual available freshwater at around 250 m3 per capita in 2025. This would be detrimental to the development of the affected countries. In most parts of the country, droughts and floods have far reaching impacts on communities.
Strategies for sustaining and distributing water resources therefore require inter alia inter-basin transfers, demand management, changes in land use and improved water resources management. The development of these strategies requires support in terms of sufficient data and predictive tools for water resources planning.

 

For further information, contact: Peter Mwirigi at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  / RTMCL