A Visit to Nairobi and the Sasumua River Watershed

watershed photo

A Visit to Nairobi and the Sasumua River Watershed

Despite the travel related challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Margaret Gitau (PI) and Victoria Garibay (Graduate Research Assistant) made a successful field trip to Kenya as part of the LASER PULSE East Africa Water Security (LPEAWS) Project. The primary purpose of the trip was to meet with directors of water, water resources managers, and stakeholders at different levels in general, and to conduct a groundtruthing. The two were hosted by Bancy Mati (Translation Partner) who handled the logistics for the trip and was instrumental in the overall success of the visit.

Ms. Victoria Garibay (left), Dr. Margaret Gitau (middle-left) and Prof. Bancy Mati (right) meet with Mr. Mohamed Shurie (middle-right), CEO, Kenya Water Resources Authority (WRA).

The team’s first stop was the Kenya Water Resources Authority (WRA), the entity that regulates water resources management and use in Kenya. At WRA the team presented the project, accomplishments, and future work, including outputs from the May LPEAWS Stakeholder Meeting, results from recently completed policy-related work, and on-going modeling efforts. The team discussed issues surrounding data, and data availability and accessibility with Mr. Shurie, who also discussed WRA priorities in relation to the on-going project. Later, the LPEAWS team met separately with WRA technical leadership, who provided insights on decision-making and management scenarios that were of interest to WRA and could inform later stages of the research project. Images and descriptions below provide further information on the extent of this work. Read more about these efforts here.

Mr. Stephen Macharia (3rd from left), Chair, Sasumua Water Resources Users Association (WRUA) explains WRUA mandate, structure, and functioning, as well as challenges and opportunities from a watershed resident’s perspective. Also present were other WRUA leadership (left), and personnel from Upper Tana/Nyandarua County and Nairobi Water (right)
Mr. Peter Muchai (Upper Tana/Nyandaru County, far right) explains on-farm conservation efforts his team is undertaking to help improve watershed water quality and reduce sediment loads to Sasumua Reservoir. The farm owner provided a tour of the farm and explained conservation measures he has implemented including his own initiatives and the impacts on farm productivity.
Sasumua River Watershed watercourses—Chania River (headwaters), Sasumua River, Kiburu Outfall—with reservoir visible at right.

Parties present expressed interest in the on-going project and provided insights on questions they had and management questions of interest that the LPEAWS team could help address. The groups agreed to maintain communication and explore opportunities for future work beyond the current project.

To ensure that youth (ages 18-34) were engaged during the visit, the team conducted a seminar to School of Biosystems and Environmental Engineering students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), with presentations on “Data Use to Improve Water Resources Decision-Making and Management”, and “A Performance Evaluation of Sliding Window Bias Correction Methods for CFSR Precipitation Data.” Thirty-five students attended with approximately equal representation of female and male participants.

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