Water is key to our survival, especially in this triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. The current climate situation makes sustainable water resource management and conservation even more critical. Water is both a National and County Government function according to the constitution of Kenya. Siaya County enjoys water supply from major natural sources including rivers Yala and Nzoia, and Lake Victoria. To name a few, pollution, riparian encroachment, inadequate forest cover and limited financial resources are some to the challenges facing sustainable water management in the County. A study conducted by Econews Africa examines the state of utilisation, management and conservation of shared water ecosystems in the County. It further identifies the gaps and challenges, and proposes possible policy responses.
The study’s findings and recommendations are essential in equipping decision-makers with evidence-based policy options to enhance sustainable shared water ecosystem management in Siaya County. The key findings in summary are:
- The county has many shared water resources that include rivers, streams and lakes
- The main rivers include Nzoia, Yala, Nyamonye, Wuoroya, Dhene and Seme Awach while the lakes are Victoria, Kanyaboli, Sare and Namboyo
- The conditions of the water resources suffer direct and indirect pollution as a result of mining and other human activities.
- There is also ongoing encroachment on the riparian areas of most rivers
- There are conflicts emanating from shared water resources mainly related to access and use
- There is need to promote the planting of indigenous trees like Neem, as opposed to eucalyptus at river riparian areas in order to conserve water and raise groundwater levels
- In collaboration with the Senate fast-track the enactment of the County Resource Development Bill of 2021
- It is Important to embrace and incorporate indigenous and traditional water management and conservation knowledge into the policies, strategies and programmes.
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