The Application of Integrated Water Resource Management Principles in Urban Kenya: The Case of Kapsabet Town

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Janet Chemutai
Fatuma Daudi
Job K. Nge’tich


Water Shortage, Integrated Water Resource Management, Catchment Protection


Water is life, as societies need sufficient amount of it to drive their economic and social development. The environment needs water too for its ecological functions. Water issues like shortages and supply deficits are every day challenges that call for an integrated approach to its management taking into account stakeholder participation, institutional integration and catchment protection. The study examined the application of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) principles in Kapsabet town. Kapsabet town has experienced water shortage due to increasing urban migration, setting up of industries and businesses like hotels that require water in their day-to day running of the activities. A sample of 384 respondents obtained from both simple random sampling and purposive sampling were drawn from 12 administrative locations were randomly selected from Emgwen and Chesumei sub-counties for interviews and counterchecked by key informant interviews. The target population was household-holds, business people and officers from county government of Nandi, National Environment Management Authority and Water Resources Authority. The results obtained from data collection were analysed using frequencies and percentages. The research instruments were tested using Test-retest reliability and content validity. The study established that there was water shortage in the study area as pointed out by 68% of the respondents at the backdrop of a high demand for water as 45% of the respondents indicated they would use 70 litres of water per day per person. The sources of water in the study area were; river, borehole, rain- water and piped- water out of which the first three sources were easily available and accessible. In addition, the components of IWRM practised in Kapsabet Town involved stakeholder participation whereby public meetings on water management were done twice per year according to zones. The National Environmental Management Authority and Water Resources Authority institutions are involved in water conservation initiatives. A major factor that supports IWRM practice is the issue of water resource information management system facilitated by Kapsabet/Nandi water supply Company. The IWRM challenge cited was inadequate funding to support water management activities. The study concludes that full implementation of IWRM in Kapsabet Town is yet to be achieved a result of inadequate funding to improve water infrastructure to increase in water supply to Kapsabet residents and hence the need to increase funding towards water resources management.

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