Water has become a deficient resource and conserving it is not an option but a necessity. In order to have sustainable water supply for the coming generations, it is important for different stakeholders to come together so as to alleviate water risks and protect the water resources. It has been a long way coming for the Kiambu Water Stewardship Partnership (KIWaSP). The journey started off in August 2016 and the partnership was finally launched in June 2017 with a culmination session of tree planting at Kwihota Secondary School in Ruiru, Kiambu County.
KIWASP is a partnership formulated under the leadership of the Kiambu County Government with the technical and financial support of International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP). IWaSP is a water security programme that facilitates partnerships between the public sector, private sector and civil society to address shared water risks, while improving stakeholders’ use and management of water; and building their capacity to develop their own solutions.
With the support of IWaSP, the Kiambu County Government (through the Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Trade, Tourism, Industry and Co-operatives), sought to engage private sector to address the water risks faced by them and communities within the county. The county also engaged other national agencies, county departments, and representatives of civil society organizations to incorporate their views in establishing the shared water risks.
Environmental degradation including deforestation, pollution, and catchment degradation by encroachment, non-sustainable land use practices, sand harvesting activities and quarrying are rampant in Kiambu County. The development of industries coupled with population pressure has significantly increased the pollution levels in the ecosystem. This resulted in an urgency for the Department to address these issues through an innovative and collaborative approach. After a number of stakeholder consultations, five focus areas were identified which include: water services delivery, catchment degradation, water quality decline, water scarcity and poor governance; and policy implementation frameworks.
Kiambu County recently completed drafting their Water and Sanitation Services Policy 2016. The vision of the water sector policy is to ensure: “A county with safe, reliable and sustainable water services, sanitation and well managed water resources.” The implementation of activities identified under the partnership will further the attainment of the vision. KIWaSP will also work to build capacity of the vulnerable groups such as local community members and women groups to mitigate their own water risks. With the continued leadership of Kiambu County Government, the partnership will be an example on collective action in promoting water security to other counties.