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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Addressing water resource problems in Sipili sub catchment

By Bob Aston
The dwindling water volume from the water sources around Sipili sub catchment area has been prevalent for a long time now. This is exacerbated by encroachment of the catchment area hence general decrease in vegetation as a result of human activities.
Previously, little effort had been made to protect water quality in the sub catchment. Most of the resources in the sub catchment are not protected hence deterioration both in quality and quantity.
Sipili area is composed of two sub catchments. One system starts from Lariak Forest and is composed of about six dams that drains in Mukutani River whose mouth is Lake Baringo. The other system starts from Mlima Senge and is composed of about four dams draining into North Aiyam which later drains into Ewaso Narok.
Sipili sub catchment is partly within the Ewaso Narok management unit of the sub region and has been categorized by Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) as ALARM. The sub catchment is in the 5AC hydrological unit and is situated within the Engare Narok Melghis Sub-region office within the Ewaso Ngiro North Catchment Area (ENNCA) region.
WRMA addressing Sipili WRUA members
The water resources problems identified in the sub catchment include; Water scarcity, catchment destruction, water pollution, water conflicts, poor drainage, soil erosion and illegal abstraction.
Some of the most common causes of poor water quality in the sub catchment are siltation, direct watering from springs, dams and streams by people and livestock, poor cultivation methods and poor or no disposal methods of insecticides and cleaning of horticultural equipment.
The sub catchment has no permanent rivers and the main water sources are springs, shallow wells, streams, boreholes and dams. Ground water is the predominant source of abstractions. The sub catchment has only five boreholes and eleven shallow wells that are mostly dug next to the dams and fitted with hand pumps.
The sub catchment also has eleven (11) dams and one (1) water pan. This includes; Karungubii, Wangwachi A, Wangwachi B, Kauka, Ndaragwiti, Ndemu Ndune, Muraya, Dimcom, Marura, Kahura, Mwireri and Mwireri B dam. The area also has two springs namely Kiriko and Kagwaru and a water pan called Leleshwa.
Various stakeholders in the region have already started taking some measures in order to conserve the sub catchment. This includes; surveys and conservation of riparian and degraded areas, carrying out erosion and sediment surveys, mobilizing and sensitizing the community on the significance of the environment, establishing soil and water conservation plans, putting up soil erosion structures as well as planning to plant 100,000 indigenous trees.
Monitoring on water resources in terms of availability, quality, usage and pollution has never been done by any organization in the sub catchment.
In order to preserve water resources in the sub catchment, stakeholders have now started working on a water allocation plan (WAP). The stakeholders are also planning to come up with Effluent Discharge and Control Plans (EDCP) in order to reduce pollution. This will also compliment the enforcement of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on all organizations and water abstractors before they commence any activity in the area.
The water stakeholders have also agreed on the need of ensuring regular monitoring of water resources and communication of the status of the catchment as well as the production of monthly returns.
Through support from Tree Is Life Trust (TILT), Sipili Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) in collaboration with WRMA, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, United Trust and local national government officials (chiefs) has come up with a Sub Catchment Management Plan (SCMP).
Sipili WRUA will use the SCMP as a basis for undertaking intervention and catchment protection in the region aimed at protecting the natural resources and above all improving the lives of the communities along the water catchment.
The SCMP will also promote the already existing natural resources, enhance livelihoods and climate resilient groups within the Sub Catchment. The SCMP covers a period of five years from January 2015 to December 2020.
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