Effects Of Climate Variability On Water And Pasture Availability In Turbi Division Of Marsabit County, Kenya.
Elema, Sharamo Umuro
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Water is life and the heart for existence in the biosphere. Where water is magnanimously plentiful, people and ecosystems thrive in abundance but in places where it is scarce, complex adaptation strategies and sophisticated civilizations have been born. Indigenous systems such as pastoralism have for centuries been flexible to harsh conditions of water and pasture scarcity but exogenous factors like climate change render them fragile. Currently, severe and abrupt changes in climatic conditions have caused serious negative impacts on availability of water and pasture. The overall objective of the study was to establish pastoralist adaptation strategies to the impact of climate change on water and pasture scarcity in Turbi Division of Marsabit County. Specifically, the study compared traditional and conventional strategies of coping with water stress and pasture scarcity under climate variability. The parameters examined were temperature and rainfall. Data was collected between September and November 2016. Primary data was collected using empirical tools. Survey questionnaires were used to collect data from two hundred and three (203) households. These were selected through stratified and simple systematic sampling methods. Additionally, interview schedules with nine key informants, four Focus Group Discussions (FDGs) and field observations were done. Data was analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Data is presented using graphs, tables and pie charts. Independent variables were examined where inter annual variability was calculated using standardized deviates (SDt) and averaged to show that minimum temperature had increased ΔT1 = +0.243 (R² = 0.1078) and maximum temperature had increased ΔT2 = +0.002 (R² = 0.0003) and rainfall had reduced ΔM1 = -0.054 (R² = 0.0005) and the proportion for communities was ΔT3 = 0.1675, ΔM2 = 0.4384 and therefore change in climate (ΔT, ΔM ≠ 0). The study found that climatic changes including rainfall patterns 55%, temperatures 21%, sunshine intensity 15% and 9% through changes in cloud cover had been witnessed by 78.3% of the residents through a number of indicators like increased distances to watering points 24%, degraded pasturelands 22%, loss of livestock 18% inter alia as well as extreme conditions like severe droughts 66%, moderate rainfalls 23%, and floods 7% among others. The study established that 4% result to social issues mainly hunger, conflicts and displacement at a ratio of 20:7:4 subsequently influencing adaptation strategies. Using cluster analyses dependent variables showed that there were adaptation strategies clustered as traditional Y1 < 1.975; conventional Y2 < 1.403; challenges in adaptation Y3 < 0.759; intervention from external forces Y4 < 1.065 and therefore that (Y1, Y2, Y3 and Y4 ≠ 0). The study concluded that the strategies are interlinked and cyclic. Climate variability should be continuously assessed to embrace future opportunities and address uncertainties. The study recommend that more appropriate and timely adaptation strategies be informed across time and space targeted at unifying the accessibility, affordability and utilization of water and pasture resources in the most sustainable manner with special focus to the local communities.