Jesuit Hakimani Center has been working with the select Religious Leaders, Civil Society Organizations, and Water Service Providers to improve equity and fairness in water management for communities most affected by the adverse climate in Garissa County. Severe water scarcity in Garissa County is associated with extreme climate variability and deficiencies in water governance.
In an effort to improve this situation, Jesuit Hakimani Center approaches it from three angles. First and foremost, JHC is working with the community to promote sustainable community water seeking behavior at the local level. In doing so, it is expected that community will come up with action plans for household water reservoirs thereby reducing water scarcity and allowing for lengthened water use elasticity at the local level and; come up with climate change mitigation measures at households levels. Secondly, JHC is working to provide technical assistance and sensitization to county water bodies (both private and public) to enhance equity in distribution and access. Thirdly, JHC is working to promote inter county water sector collaboration. This is because the main source of fresh water in Garissa; River Tana, flows from Mount Kenya rendering it a shared ecosystem.
Therefore JHC seeks to support communities establish regulations to share water at their level, promote a sustainable water management policy and practice, and strengthen inter-county water sector collaboration in Garissa County. Further, JHC is supporting the community in order to make better climate sensitive rainfall capture, ground water management (where available) and increased infrastructure for water storage. This will see a reduction in competition for water use and a peaceful involvement of the water actors in the County. In turn, this will incrementally lead to enhanced climate change adaptation and mitigation practices. Subsequently it provides platforms for resolving conflicts between the different actors and emphasizing synergies.
The project has started to produce some results. The county government has requested JHC to assist in the development of the county water policy. The Garissa Water and Sewage Company have requested JHC to provide expertise in the development of by-laws to help improve its operations. The women in Lagdera have approached the county to provide them with water since it is a right under the constitution. There are religious leaders who have fitted their houses with gutters to harvest rain water. The county government is working on their climate change bill and has greatly relied on JHC’s mobilization to collect information from the community.
Author Maureen Brendah – Jesuit Hakimani Advocacy Officer