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Water Resource Management Framework Support

This assignment was carried out within the water resources management (WRM) component of the Kenya Water and Sanitation Programme (KWSP). The objective of the assignment was to provide technical support to the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) in a variety of activities defined by the WRMA Annual Workplan as part of the water sector reform process. These activities were prioritized by WRMA to progressively build up its capacity at all levels (national, regional and local) to operate more effectively. The WRMA mandate is the lead government agency responsible for the management of the water resources. This covers water resources monitoring, regulation, apportionment and planning. This assignment focuses on the following key areas:

Permit Database
The development and implementation of the WRM Rules provided an opportunity for WRMA to collect appropriate data on abstraction, in addition to the information required with respect to permits. A permit database was seen as an essential tool to support the transparent and professional assessment and processing of permits. Key features of the permit design included:

  • Permit databases will be hosted in each region under a common system that enables information to be shared with sub-regional offices, across catchments and to headquarters;
  • Permit database enables quick and efficient data entry consistent with WRM Rules;
  • Reporting system in Permit Database enables easy review of progress of permit applications to avoid build up of back-logs;
  • Permit database makes use of a water user ID and permit numbering system that is consistent across regions and the financial systems with WRMA;

WRM Rules
WRMA undertook an intensive exercise of developing WR Rules, bringing key stakeholders into the process and finally exposing the proposed Rules to public consultation. The proposed Rules reflect the Act in that they introduce various new elements to WRM. These included:

  • A rights based approach which captures requirements of the Water Reserve, procedures for complaints, etc;
  • Water permit thresholds;
  • Water use charges;
  • A loads-based approach to effluent discharge control;

Codes of Practice for Dams and Pans
It was recognized that the existing standards or design guidelines for water conservation structures were inadequate and many existing structures failed to meet even these minimum standards. In an effort to reduce public risks and to improve efficiency of resources, WRMA initiated an effort to develop Codes of Practice for water conservation structures.

Catchment Management Strategies
The WRMA is required by the Water Act 2002 to develop Catchment Management Strategies for each of the catchments. The CMS is a document that lays out many of the guiding principles for the management, use, development, conservation, protection, and control of water resources within each catchment. Key features of the CMS are:

  • Captures IWRM approach;
  • Contains water allocation principles and plans;
  • Captures the concepts of the resource class and resource quality objectives;
  • Provides mechanisms for stakeholder participation in IWRM;

Each of the regions developed a catchment strategy responsive to its individual needs. This was a long process as the CMS is broad in scope, required the involvement of key stakeholders, and was constrained by significant data gaps.

Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs)
WRUAs were seen to be the vehicle through which community participation in WRM at the sub-catchment level can be channeled. However, the concept of the WRUA and the formation and establishment of WRUAs required sustained and focused support.

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