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PRESA’s work informs Kenya’s policy on water

PRESA’s work informs Kenya’s policy on water

By Elizabeth Kahurani

PRESA’s work on Payments for Environmental Services (PES) at the Sasumua watershed in Kenya has resulted in the inclusion of PES as an effective water resource management mechanism within key government policy on water.

Heavily sedimented water flowing into the Sasumua Dam. PHOTO: J. MwangiThe Pro-poor rewards for environmental services in Africa (PRESA) project at the World Agroforestry Centre has been instrumental in providing evidence on the effectiveness of the PES initiative which aims at rewarding communities that protect essential environmental services. Read related article.

One of the project sites has been the Sasumua watershed in Kenya where evidence shows that building a grass waterway 20 kilometers long and 3 meters wide can reduce soil sedimentation by 20 percent. This amounts to savings of US$23,000 a year in purification costs for the Nairobi Water Company. However, such benefits cannot be realized due to existing policy and institutional gaps within the water sector. For example, community participation in water resource management is provided for through the Water Resource User’s Association (WRUAs) but it is not clear whether these communities, majority of who are small-scale farmers, should directly receive payments for improving watershed services.

To address such constraints, PRESA has been actively engaging key players in the water policy sector and the efforts culminated into the drafting of a policy position paper with recommendations on what needs to be included in the water management policies to activate the implementation of PES. These recommendations were taken up and are reflected in one of the key policy water documents soon to be released. Stay tuned for the link to the policy document. Notes from the policy position paper can be accessed here [PDF, 316KB].

Read more of PRESA’s PES work here: Pro-poor rewards for environmental services in Africa 2008-2011[PDF, 1.4MB].

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