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Water allocation as a planning tool to minimise water use conflicts in Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin, Kenya.

Mavengano, Shadreck T. (2009) Water allocation as a planning tool to minimise water use conflicts in Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin, Kenya.

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Abstract:Water use conflicts in the Ewaso Ng’iro North basin have escalated in recent years due to competition for the available water resources. Over abstraction of the limited river flow for irrigation in the Mount Kenya and Abedares Mountain range foot zones often depletes water flow in dry seasons greatly affecting downstream water users. The lack of sufficient knowledge about water resources and current uncoordinated water resources management in the basin often results in water deficits which have hampered development in the down stream sub-catchment. The goal of this study is to integrate the water needs of various sectors with available water resources in order to attain both economic and ecological sustainability. GIS techniques are used to quantify the spatial and temporal stream flow availability in the basin by spatially distributing discharge at Archers Post gauge station using stream flow data series from the simulated hydrological model. Scenarios are used in the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model to evaluate water resources development using an equilibrium scenario of current water demand. For each scenario the WEAP model was used to simulate water use in four different sectors (domestic, livestock, wildlife and irrigation) Different allocation priorities are explored using water productivity data to estimate the economic cost of failing to provide water as loss in gross regional domestic product (GRDP) in irrigation and other sectors. Current shortfalls in domestic, livestock and wildlife sectors downstream are estimated to cost between US$1.03 and US$6 million per year depending on rainfall and hence river flows. The analysis revealed that low irrigation efficiency causes over abstraction in the upstream catchment as the major cause of water scarcity. Lack of water storage facilities and an effective monitoring programme or strict water allocation policy allows upstream water users to effectively withdraw all stream flow in the dry season as crops often fetch better prices during this period. It is recommended that 1038 water pans of 50 000m3 capacity be constructed in the upstream catchment to regulate river flow, supplement irrigation during the dry season and irrigation efficiency be improved. Enforcement of the Water Act 2002 water allocation priorities provide a fair basis on water rights to all users and higher economical benefits since the domestic, livestock and wildlife sectors have a higher water productivity rate. The study illustrates the value of scenarios in providing insight to water resources planning.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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