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Friday, 29 May 2015

Water Resources and Sustainable Land Management in Laikipia

Source Laikipia Mali Asili
Laikipia County has been categorised as one of the water scarce counties in Kenya. The main water sources are Ewaso Narok and Ewaso Nyiro rivers and their tributaries. The Northern part of the County in areas such as Dol Dol is mostly semi-arid while lower parts near Nyahururu are wetter and more agriculturally productive.
The rivers’ system support two major forests namely Rumuruti and Ewaso Narok forests. They also support a large populations of wildlife. According to agencies involved in protection of water catchment sites in Laikipia County, such as the Kenya Wetlands Biodiversity
Section of Wangwaci dam in Ol-Moran Ward
Research Group (KENWEB), there is an urgent need to conserve the water catchment sites of Laikipia. The national Government, County and civil society bodies are working with water users’ associations in order to preserve water catchment and riparian areas. These efforts have included raising communities’ awareness about the need for sustainable use of scarce water resources, afforestation through tree planting and sustainable utilization of forest and forest products.
Only 20 per cent of Laikipia’s land is arable with most small scale farmers owning an average of two acres. The County also has a significant population of pastoralists.  A significant part of the land mass is occupied by conservancies, with Laikipia having 43 registered ranches larger than 10,000 acres, which also double as cattle production enterprises.
Key economic activities in the County: agriculture, livestock rearing and tourism are heavily water dependent. According to the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP), most arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya will become hotter and dry over the next 30 – 50 years.
Already, communities are noticing that the regularity of rainy and dry seasons to which they have become used has changed in recent years, already pointing to increasing incidences of climate variability.
During time of water stress, incidents of human wildlife conflict become common as animals invade farms in search of pasture. In some instances, larger animals, particularly elephants, encounter farms as they follow historical migratory corridors. Ways and means of sustainable use of water in Laikipia and indeed in Kenya will have to be the concern of all members of the society: leaders, women, men, young people and even children.
You can download a copy of Laikipia Mali Asili here
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