A framework for integrated management of transboundary basins: the case of sio sub-catchment in East Africa
Obando, Joy Apiyo
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The Sio sub-catchment is transboundary, originating in Kenya and flowing into Berkeley Bay of the Lake Victoria basin. It forms an important sub-catchment of the Nile basin and a significant base for the livelihood of small scale farmers engaged in mixed farming, depending on agriculture and livestock keeping as well as a large population depending on fishing. Indeed, high population densities exceeding 300 persons per square kilometre and cattle densities of 38 have been noted within basin, and continue to increase pressing heavy demand on the watershed resources – water, soil, vegetation. Thus the basin continues to be deforested as demand for human settlements, agriculture and grazing land increases leading to land degradation that is characterised by fertility losses, erosion by water and increases in sediment load as it drains into Lake Victoria. The livelihood of the population has been adversely affected and has in turn lead to unsustainable natural resources utilization. Integrated watershed management provides an appropriate analytical and management unit for sustainable utilization of resources. This is particularly important as a means of coping with the ever increasing population and can contribute to the Millennium Development goals particularly of reduction of poverty and sustainable environmental management. A framework for integrated management of the Sio basin will enable protection of the resources in the basin, whilst allowing sustainable use of the same resources for this increasing population. This paper provides a framework for management of the Sio transboundary basin within an integrated approach drawing on both local and scientific knowledge for sustainable resources management.