NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Improved Water Economics in Sub-catchments of Kenya (IWESK) [NDF C62 B 5]

Photo: Kari Hämekoski
Photo: Kari Hämekoski
The project will improve water measurement, water sale and water use efficiency in adaptation to climate change

Improved Water Economics in Sub-catchments of Kenya (IWESK)
Ref:  NDF C62 B 5

Nordic Partner: ORGUT Consulting AB
Local Partners: Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF), Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) and Rural Focus Ltd.
Total Project Cost: EUR 995,000
NCF Financing: EUR 497,000
Agreement Signed: 11 November 2014
Project Classification: Adaptation
Duration: 30 Months

Project Objective

The objective of the project is to promote sustainable livelihood development and economic growth through improved commercialized management of limited water resources in selected sub catchments in Kenya.


Despite the recent achievements, water resources management in Kenya, particularly in the Ewaso Ngiro Catchment faces serious challenges, such as only partial regulation, inadequate enforcement of rules, competition over scarce water resources that are leading to conflicts, degradation of catchment areas and severe pollution. The NCF1 project Building Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change produced tools for improved adaptation strategies, better understanding of critical issues in the catchments and training and information packages to be used by Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) and local actors. Extensive training for WRMA was undertaken in modelling and adaptation strategies during the project.

The project was generally implemented as anticipated, although some of the anticipated activities were delayed and/or could not be completed. The project has actively supported the formation of Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP), which is seen as a long-term solution to achieving better water resource management in the region. In addition, the project implemented water resource monitoring and regulation activities at the Water Resource User Association (WRUA), Water Service Provider (WSP) and individual farm level including the design and construction of appropriate infrastructure such as common intakes, farm level water storage and metering.

Among the concrete results of the project are 14 individual pilot farms with rainwater storage and drip irrigation, 3 projects with household meters and additional 7 projects with bulk meters installed, a designed and constructed common intake for Ngushishi WRUA, and a designed common intake for Teleswani WRUA. The project has also made significant effort in the development of the WRMA-WRUA Agency Model, which was endorsed by the Water Resource Management Authority, but due to time limitations, the originally planned piloting of the model did not take place and would have to be carried under other financing arrangements. 

Relevance for Climate Change

The project has support water utilities in improving their efficiency of water use, as well as assisted WRUAs in pollution control measures in their sub-catchments, to preserve the quality of limited water resources. The main output in terms of the WRUA sustainability would have been creating a financial instrument for the WRUAs to finance their regular promotional/software and regulatory operations. This is important, as WRUAs are the main local level actors able to undertake climate change adaptation activities on the ground. Practical adaptation measures of the project included investments in SMART metering for water measurement for irrigation and domestic water provision, on-farm storage, efficient water use irrigation technologies such as drip-irrigation.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

One of the key innovative features of the project was promotion of access to commercial financing for water supply investments which, however, proved not attractive as the banks saw the investments too risky especially against the background of capped interest rates introduced by the government in 2016, and water users saw commercial loans as an unwelcome alternative to donor/government funding. There is some scope for individual farmers accessing small loans for storage and drip installations, but this is yet to be demonstrated. Another innovation was the development of the WRMA-WRUAs Agency Model which involves a contractual arrangement between WRUA and WRMA to conduct specified and measurable Water Resource Management Services on behalf of WRMA.


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