water harvesting [Kenya]

approaches_2356 - Kenya

Completeness: 81%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Mutunga Kathinji

Ministry of agriculture and rural development national SWC branch.

P.O.Box 30028 Nairobi


SLM specialist:

Adual Alex R.


P.O.Box 63403 Nairobi


Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (DEZA / COSUDE / DDC / SDC) - Switzerland
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MoA) - Kenya
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) - Kenya

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

Wooden water reservoir for  rain water harvesting.

Wooden water reservoir for rain water harvesting. [Uganda]

A gutter system constructed on the farmer’s house-roof collects rainwater and directs it into a constructed reservoir raised off the ground with interior walls lined with water-proof tarpaulin. The reservoir has a maximum capacity of 8,000 liters of water; clean enough for irrigation, livestock and domestic use during seasons of ...

  • Compiler: Aine Amon
Micro-catchments for rainwater harvesting

Micro-catchments for rainwater harvesting [Kenya]

Ox-ploughed furrow micro-catchments are intentionally built as part of seedbed preparation to harvest rainwater. Commonly used in dryland environments, the micro-catchment prolong water availability for seed germination and growth and development of the emerging seedlings.

  • Compiler: Kevin Mganga

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

Water harvesting for agricultural production in ASALS.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: Water harvesting to enhance extra moisture and for reduced risks of crop failure. The technology combines retention/infiltration ditches, bench terraces, appropriate tillaging, manure use, water channels diverting run off from either high ways or natural waterways and stabilization of SWC embankment. Implementation is made by land users with guidance of SWC specialists. Land users may be a group or individual, though the land use type is individual ownership.

Other important information: Most of part 2: specification of SWC approach, QA2.11.3-QA2.5.2.3 were answered with assumptions since there never existed other projects in the area before this indigeneous one known as extra humid in arid and semi-arid lands (EHMASAL) programme established in 2000 to provide land users with the existing SWC technologies and methods of approaches to meet the prevailing need of self-sufficience and food security. The programme strategies are attached.

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:

Eastern province

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The Approach focused mainly on SLM with other activities (Timeliness in planting/transplanting, seed selection, seedlings variety and breeds for the AEZ.)

To harvest runoff and spread it on cropped area to maximize agricultural productivity. To improve crop moisture requiremnet. To reduce risks of crop failure stimulated by aridity in ASALs. To control soil erosion by water and wind. To improve the inflitration rate. To enhance food security for self-sufficiency and reliance.

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: Inadequency of soil moisture resulting to crop failure. Inefficiency of approach to improve the situation. Fertility depletion due to continuous cultivation. Soil crusting caused by erosion, poor tillaging, overgrazing and deforestation (degadation).

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

The much need be done on SWC in ASAL is beyond the sole land user for hand

Treatment through the SLM Approach: It requires financial support by source of loans and market orientation

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • enabling

The existing land ownership, land use rights / water rights greatly helped the approach implementation: Land ownership/land use rights help implementation of the approach since benefits are realized by the sole land user.

  • hindering

No empowerment on land use law or bylaws

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Enforcement by legislation on land use policy.

knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
  • hindering

poor land treatment-plans, poor land husbandry, low knowledge

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Interaction in land use change, especially with SWC specialists

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Land user/local SWC specialists. Working land users were work equally divided between men and women (The family leader organizes for activity implementation either family labour or casuals). Women are majority for reason that men are engaged on off-farm. Employmentproportion is about 3 women to 1 man. Mostly women in public meetings and open field days

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers
  • national government (planners, decision-makers)

Water harvest for agricultural production RESCU 1996. Run off farming ministry of agriculture, Nairobi

3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation interactive Mainly:public meetings; partly: workshops/seminars; public meetings for initial awareness. Workshops/seminars for technical assistance for approach
planning interactive Mainly: workshops/seminars; partly: public meetings; innovators land users seminar
implementation self-mobilization
monitoring/ evaluation none Mainly: reporting; partly: measurements/observations; correct dimensions, monthly progress report
Research none

3.3 Flow chart (if available)



3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • mainly SLM specialists, following consultation with land users

consultative for land use change

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by mainly by land users supported by SLM specialists. land users implemented voluntarily.

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Specify who was trained:
  • land users
  • extensionists/trainers
Form of training:
  • on-the-job
  • demonstration areas
  • public meetings
Subjects covered:

Only field days and practical substitutes training for a fact that the programme has no source of finance to support trainings.

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


Describe/ comments:

Runoff farming (water harvesting); Key elements: Infiltration/retention ditches, level bench terraces, soil structure, texture and fertility improvement, macro/micro catchment water harvest bund; 1) Advisory service was carried out through: non-governmental agency 2) Target groups for extension: land users; Activities: SWC activities, water harvest

Advisory service is inadequate to ensure the continuation of land conservation activities; Staff farmer ratio is too high to induce land use change

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • yes, a little
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
  • local
Specify type of support:
  • capacity building/ training

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



Area treated aspects were regular monitored through measurements

no. of land users involved aspects were ad hoc monitored through observations

There were no changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: The changes may come up season after season due to rainfall characteristics in arid areas. The period is rather short to make a conclusion. No change observed hither to.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


Specify topics:
  • ecology
  • technology
Give further details and indicate who did the research:

The existing SWC recommendations were released through the institution

Research was carried out both on station and on-farm

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
  • 10,000-100,000
Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: local community / land user(s) (no external support)

5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • voluntary

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

soil management structurally aiming to make use of previously lost runoff for crop production.

Did the Approach improve issues of land tenure/ user rights that hindered implementation of SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

about 20-25% of the other organized groups adopted the approach initially.

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

About 75% of the land users may continue implementing the SWC activities without financial support in future. What would be required by land user as focused is layout, alignment, generally technology guidance. If other approaches e.g. trainings/seminars were included to all farm production systems.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
increase weight on food security (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: to acquire knowledge of the land husbandry.)
introduces off-farm employment (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: proper measures and practices of water harvesting component.)
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
The approach focuses on food security and self-sufficiency. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Regular maintenance of the SWC structures and agroforestry establishment.)
Improve the standard of living if adopted by the community. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Enforcement of SWC policy by the government to protect technology areas.)
Reduces risk of crop failure due to poor rainfall distribution. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Introduce policy of land use right/land ownership.)
Reduces soil and water losses through erosion. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Introduced land use change and land management (land husbandry practices))
Improves national economy as well as family gross income. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: improvement on market of agricultural products and by-products.)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
poor marketing system for most of agricultural products and byproducts. formation of cooperative societies
slow in adoption on land use change due to longer period of cost return government introduces enforcement law to discourage communal land use.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
regular crop failure due to erratic rainfall patterns enhance extra moisture by water harvest and spreading it in cropped area
consumes time, energy and money to establish. No soil, no food. No water, no life. Policy of approach
interferes with soil fertility and reduces land size by SWC structures. Manure and fertilizer application regularly to maximize production level.
Slow in cost benefit return from a given area. marketing orientation for farm products
Low income sources of the common land users. Introduced sources of agricultural loan policy for ASALs.

7. References and links

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

SWC manual for Kenya 1997 by D.B. ThomasSoil conservation in Kenya 1981 by C.G.WennerSWC technology development in Kenya by K:MutungaSony super DXE-180 videoThe sun will still rise videoRunoff, a friend or a foe video

Available from where? Costs?

agricultiral information centre, freeagricultiral information centre, freeM.A.R.D. SWCB-NBI Kenya, freeSWCB NBI Kenya, freeRELMA/CIDA, freeRELMA/CIDA, free

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Rainfall runoff analysis by Paul Kimeu. 1-11. Feb. 1998

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Water conservation, water harvesting and management (WCHM) scheme design. Practicals (WHIF) exercise. Embu February 1-11 1998

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Method of collecting and storing local surface runoff for water supply in central Asian deserts by Prof A.G. Babaer

Available from where? Costs?

Desert research institute, Gogolstr.15.

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Study of traditional water harvesting practices in Cost province, by J.O.Owupo, July 1998

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Soil characteristics and properties for water conservation, harvesting and management (WCHM). (WH5) June 29-July 7 1997 by Kithinji Mutunga

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Dryland water harvesting (WH), water conservtion (WC) techniques , by K. Mutunga 9-15 July 1995

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Design procedure for harvesting and conservation system, by Odoyo J. Bittar. ministry of agriculture, Busia-Kenya, February 1-11, 1998

Title, author, year, ISBN:

MINOR ROADS PROGRAMME soil conservation. Pilot project final report 1992agrisystems (EA) Ltd, P.O.Box 39636 Nairobi, free

Available from where? Costs?

Agrisystems (EA) Ltd, P.O.Box 39636 Nairobi, free

Title, author, year, ISBN:

promoting farmer innovatiion . Workshop report No. 2 by Will Critchley 'RELMA' 1999

Available from where? Costs?


Title, author, year, ISBN:

mpact assessment study. National soil and water conservation branch, final report 1998

Available from where? Costs?

Agrisystems (EA) Ltd, P.O.Box 39636 Nairobi, free

Title, author, year, ISBN:

The sustainability of the catchment approach - induced measures and activities, by Yeraswara Admasie (NSWCP). Report in 1998

Available from where? Costs?


Title, author, year, ISBN:

Where ther is no water. SASOL and by Donald B.Thomas 1999. maji na ufanisi P.O.Box 14893 Nairobi

Available from where? Costs?


Title, author, year, ISBN:

ater from sand rivers by Erik Nissen Petersen report No.23, RELMA/SIDA. Kenya 2000

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Agroforestry extension manual for northern Zambia, by Henry Chilufya. BO Tengrias , free. RSCU Nairobi technical handbook No.11.

Title, author, year, ISBN:

The hand of man. Soil conservation in Kondoa, eroded area Tanzania, by Carl Christiansson, Alfred Mbegu, Andreas Yrgard, RSCU/SIDA 1993 free

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Nomadic pastoral appraisal SWCB MALDM P.O. Box 30028 Nairobi, by L.I. Mwarasomba

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Curriculum for in service training in agroforestry and related subjects in Kenya. By Stachys M. Muturi. M.A., MENR, Kenya. Forestry research institute, RSCU/SIDA 1992

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