Intergrated watershed management: a paragim for sustainable water supply in Iveti North hills, Machakos District.

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Nthiwa, Lazarus Kivai
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Watersheds, world over are of importance. They are valued for their critical functions. They provide terrestrial and aquatic habitats. They have a health function, through the provision of safe drinking water. Water from the watersheds performs a carrier function within the ecosystem by transporting dissolved and suspended materials. Some solid and liquid wastes that are products of human activities can be purified in a watershed. The importance of watershed has however, not been fully understood, appreciated, nor has adequate attention been placed on using water wisely and efficiently. As a result watersheds have been degraded. The root cause of these changes is continued increase in human population. With rising human population, more and more land is required for shelter, food production, forage requirements and fuel wood. People are forced to use marginal land, often in upper catchment areas. A stage has been reached where water issues have become the limiting factor for sustainable development and often result in conflicts amongst the various competing sectors. In order to achieve the anticipated economic growth, decent and civilized life in water scarce regions, innovative approaches should be adopted. Integrated management of catchments is the best solution to these problems. In an attempt to realize adequate water supplies, and to ensure protection of the watersheds in Iveti North Hills, the study explored the following objectives: it analysed the policy and institutional framework on water management, examined the causes of watershed degradation, evaluated measures that have been put in place to address watershed degradation, and developed an Integrated Watershed Management Plan for improved water supply. A survey was undertaken focusing on the core and pertinent variables ranging from land use, population growth, to the methods of irrigation. Stratified random, simple random and purposive sampling techniques were used to draw the sample. Probability sampling procedures was used to achieve a representative sample of ninety households for the study. Analysis, conclusion and recommendations were made based on the findings of the study. The survey established that the watersheds in Iveti North Hills have seriously been degrade, a phenomenon that has reduced stream water supplies in the area. The survey recommends that an integrated approach should be adopted in order to manage and conserve the watersheds.
Department of Environmental Planning and Management, 89p. The TD 365 .N75 2007
Watershed management --Machakos --Kenya, Water resources development --Kenya --Machakos