The response of Kasikeu river to the impacts of anthropogenic activities in its catchment area
River catchments sustain human civilization and related biodiversity. The numerous resource bases from river catchments include: drinking water supply, abstraction of water for agriculture, for hydropower generation, recreation, transport, construction materials and fishing. However, despite their value to mankind river catchments are under pressure and are facing degradation and threat from communities and from climate change. Kasikeu River catchment is located within the Kilungu catchment. The region is characterized by catchment destruction leading to low water flows. High population density in the area has led to over abstraction of both ground and surface water. Human activities such as sand harvesting and agricultural activities in the various parts of the sub catchment has lead to poor water quality and quantity. The objectives of the study are to assess the impacts of sand harvesting, to assess how maize farming contributes to siltation in the catchment and to examine effect of deforestation in Kasikeu River catchment. The study provides an insight on strategies, action plans and planning modules required in a comprehensive river basin management. This adequately determines the actual causes and effects of degradation in the Kasikeu River catchment while offering mitigation measures for sustainable watershed management. To examine the impact of maize farming activities within the Kasikeu River catchment data was collected on the views and opinions of the residents on the causes and effects of maize farming methods carried out within the river catchment. To assess the effect of sand harvesting within the catchment views and opinions from residents, stakeholders and government officials were sought. Various data sets such as land sizes and tenure systems, use of river basins, impacts of the activities, and conservation measures applied and other variables were analysed. The study established that various anthropogenic activities had serious impacts on the catchment for 30% of the destruction was as result of extensive and uncontrolled sand harvesting, maize farming contributed to 22% while demand for more agricultural land contributed to 17%. Search for fuel contributed 11% hence Kasikeu River catchment has seriously been degraded a fact which is linked to the human activities carried out within the catchment. This has seriously affected the catchment and has led to a decline in the hydrological function of the river basin. The survey recommends that an integrated approach should be adopted in order to manage, restore and preserve the river catchment.