International Annual UN-Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/2013
Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen! 8-10 January 2013

Mount Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resource Management, Kenya

Interview with Faith Muthoni Livingstonn. Interview with Faith Muthoni Livingstone. Project Manager, Mt. Kenya East Pilot Project

Mount Kenya is one of the five water towers in Kenya whose water yield contributes close to 49% of the flow of Tana River (the biggest river in Kenya). The river supports close to 50% of the hydropower generated in Kenya; irrigated agriculture; fisheries; livestock production and biodiversity conservation in the lower Tana basin and is thus strategic to Kenya's economic development. These functions were increasingly threatened by environmental degradation in the upper and middle catchment of the river. Deforestation, inappropriate land use practices and overgrazing triggered soil erosion which contributed to a high sediment load to the river, its tributaries and the hydroelectric power dams. Increased cultivation reduced the ability of the land to hold rainwater, causing fluctuation in river regime during the rainy season and depressed base flows in the dry season, thereby impairing water supply. Ultimately, the allocation of water resources became a sensitive issue which could potentially trigger ethnic tension and conflicts.

To reverse this vicious degradation cycle, the Government of Kenya initiated the Mt. Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resources Management Project (MKEPP). The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Global Environmental Facility (GEF) were approached for assistance in project financing. The overall goal of the project is to reduce poverty through improved food security and improving levels of income of farmers - particularly rural women. MKEPP-NRM focuses on the effective use of natural resources, improving access to water and introducing better farming and water management practices for sustainable use of land and water resources. It has supported community-based water resources management and the formation of Water User Associations (WUAs), River User Associations (RUAs) and Catchment Area Advisory Committees (CAACs). The project was implemented between 2004 and 2012.