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Philip Karanja Munyua - Master of Arts in Project Planning and Management, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. John Mbugua - School of Open and Distance Learning, University of Nairobi, Kenya


Water is a fundamental resource needed for social and economic development. However, water resources scarcity has emerged as a major problem and in fact the world is facing a global freshwater crisis. The objectives of this study were to establish the influence of the organizational set up of the Water Resources Users Associations in water resources management, to determine the influence of the functions of the Water Resources Users Associations in water resources management and to find out the influence of the legal framework of WRUAs in water resources management within their areas of jurisdiction. Research questions set out in this study were meant to assist in data gathering on the independent variable (performance of Water Resources Users Associations) and its influence on the dependent variable (water resources management). The study was carried out in Laikipia County in Kenya. Laikipia County borders Nakuru, Baringo, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Isiolo, Meru and Samburu Counties. However it targeted the Upper Ewaso Ngiro sub region under the Ewaso Ngiro North Drainage Basin of the Water Resources Authority. The study was undertaken in five Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs) out of the existing nineteen WRUAs namely Naromoru, Nanyuki, Ngusishi, Likii and Ontulili. The research design applied in this study was the cross sectional survey since it allows for generalization of findings to a larger population. The target population for this study was 2291 being the population of the WRUA membership of all the WRUAs that are in the Upper Ewaso Ngiro sub region, Laikipia County. From this target population, 295 respondents were sampled and used in this study. Data collection was done by use of simply structured questionnaires. The research instruments were tested for reliability and validity. Data obtained was analysed by use of statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and excel spread sheets. Data was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. This analysis generated quantitative results through tabulations, percentages, and measures of central tendency. The results of the analysis were presented in form of tables and frequency distributions.  The study found that the community was well represented in the Water Resource Users Associations. All the Water Resource Users Associations had management committees and they held management committee meetings annually and quarterly. The study found out that the involvement of the community, water resources sharing and resolution of water use conflicts was high. The study also found that WRUAs had constitution/by laws and most of the members had personal copies of the constitution.  The study concluded that organizational structure had the greatest influence on performance of WRUAs in water resources management, followed by legal framework, while functions had the least influence on the performance of WRUAs in water resources management. The study recommended that stakeholders should be included in all assessment and pre-planning activities as well as planning and implementation as this will help to increase the chances for the WRUAs performance and enhance effective water resources management through more ideas. The study further recommends that the County Government of Laikipia to engage through multi sectoral approach in policy formulation for an integrated water resources management plan to address issues surrounding water availability and use in order to avert conflicts that may erupt in the future due to the ever increasing water use demand. Finally the study suggests further studies on the effect of devolution on the performance of water resources users association as well as on the influence of devolution on water resources management in the counties.

Full Length Research (PDF Format)