Towards a framework for monitoring and communicating water resources sustainability: A case study of Rwamuthambi Sub Catchment area, Kenya

Kumunga, E., Ndiwa, T., & Nzioka, J.

Wetlands degradation in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem health has been experienced especially from wetland vegetation loss due to unsustainable usage of natural resources.  This study explores the indicators involved and various strategies the local community employs in utilization and conservation of Rwamuthambi sub catchment, the role played by Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) to influence the sub catchment area management and how these strategies can be used to monitor and communicate sustainability.  Data was collected using field surveys, questionnaires, key informant interviews and direct observations.  This data was analyzed through descriptive statistics and regression analysis using Stata software.  The results indicated that level of household incomes influenced level of sub catchment conservation and sensitization (p< 0.05).  Enforcement had a significant positive influence (p< 0.05) to the economy and environment components.  Community involvement and community initiative had a strong significant influence (p< 0.05) on utilization, conservation and sensitization which are the components of sustainability.  The study revealed that sustainability was mainly about people and their wellbeing.  The study found that 82% of the community members were involved in sub catchment utilization activities.  Though profit driven, their involvement subsequently improved the sub catchment conservation.  However, community levels of education did not influence sub catchment sustainability.  The study adopted and improved the illustration of sustainability pillars as the framework to monitor and communicate the effects of these indicators.  Based on the findings, the study concluded that conservation was a function of utilization and recommended a systematic follow-up by practitioners on the tipping point of utilization-driven conservation.