Wetland transformation through Water Resource Users Association; The case of Rwamuthambi Sub Catchment area, Kenya.

Kumunga, E. M., Ndiwa, T. C., & Muthama, N. J.

Many studies conducted in Kenya regarding water resource governance have focused on the mandate of Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs) with less attention being accorded to their effectiveness in conservation of wetlands. This study assessed the effectiveness of WRUA committees, and challenges faced in conservation of Rwamuthambi Sub-catchment. The study employed exploratory descriptive research design. Data was collected through questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, observations and review of secondary data. Chi square and descriptive statistics was used to analyze the data. The survey results revealed that only 15% of WRUA committee understood water resources management while 35% were aware of relevant legislations. Factors of wetland degradation showed significant association with existence of WRUA (χ2 (4, N=180) = 20.46, p< .01) where (χ2- chi square (degrees of freedom, N = sample size) = chi-square statistic value, p = p value), although WRUA contributions were perceived differently per agro-ecological zone (χ2 (8, N=147) = 15.51, p>.05). Challenges unearthed were inadequate financial and human resources, lack of understanding, ineffective collaborative governance, poor support from county government and private ownership of riparian land reserve. There is need for WRUAs to embrace collaborative governance for effective conservation of wetlands. Integration of sub catchment management plan with county land use plans and policy review is also required.