Water Resources Management

, Volume 24, Issue 14, pp 3939–3959 | Cite as

Water Allocation as a Planning Tool to Minimise Water Use Conflicts in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin, Kenya

  • Jeniffer Kinoti MutigaEmail author
  • Shadrack T. Mavengano
  • Su Zhongbo
  • Tsehaie Woldai
  • Robert Becht
Open Access


Inadequate water resources management and a general decline in rainfall have aggravated water scarcity problems in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin in Kenya. Furthermore, water use conflicts in the basin have escalated in recent decades due to increased competition for available water resources. Excessive abstraction of the declining river water mainly for irrigation in the Mount Kenya and Nyandarua foot zones often leads to reduced water flow during the dry seasons, greatly affecting downstream water users. Increased water use in the basin coupled with deterioration of the vegetative cover has resulted in reduced water flows in the Ewaso Ng’iro river and its major tributaries. In addition, lack of sufficient knowledge about available water resources and current lack of coordination in water resources management in the basin often result in water deficits which have hampered development in the downstream catchment. The goal of this study was to match the water requirements of various competing sectors in the basin with the available water resources in order to attain both economic and ecological sustainability. To achieve this, GIS techniques were used to quantify the spatial and temporal stream flow. The Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model was applied to evaluate water resources development based on an equilibrium scenario of the current water demand. Water use was simulated for five different sectors (domestic, livestock, wildlife, irrigation and reserve). The analyses revealed that high water demand for irrigation was the main cause of excessive water abstraction particularly in the upstream catchments, giving rise to water shortages and consequently, water use conflicts downstream. The study, therefore, recommends that rainwater harvesting be promoted in the basin in order to improve water availability for productive use.


Water abstraction Water evaluation and planning model Water demand Water allocation Water use conflicts Scenario development Ewaso Ng’iro North 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeniffer Kinoti Mutiga
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shadrack T. Mavengano
    • 1
  • Su Zhongbo
    • 1
  • Tsehaie Woldai
    • 1
  • Robert Becht
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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