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Academic year: 2021



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WRMA takes this opportunity to introduce our roles and functions to County Governments. Globally, best practices in managing Water Resources are based on river basin drainage system. Having embraced the Integrated Water Resources Management Principles, Kenya’s water resources are managed along major river drainage systems. These areas follow river basin drainage areas referred to as called water catchment areas, whose boundaries are river drainage based as opposed to the County Boundaries which are administrative based. The Country has therefore been delineated into six water catchment areas. These are L. Victoria South, L. Victoria north, the Rift Valley Inland drainage, Ewaso Ng’iro North, Tana and Athi Catchment areas. These water catchment areas are also referred to as Regions with headquarter in a Regional office.

Each catchment area covers several counties. The catchment area is also Sub divided into Sub Regions, again based on river basin drainage areas. Our services will be offered from these offices, under the guidance of the relevant Sub regional Offices

WRMA will ensure that services to the people of Kenya are offered efficiently and effectively.



WRMA is the lead agency in Water Resources management in the country as per Water Act 2002 sec 8(1) and has 10 mandates which revolve around the following;

Regulation, use and control of water resoures;( Water Allocation planning, Water

apportionment using permiting system, maintenance of the resrve, Enforcement of conditions attached to Water permits)

Protection of water resources from harmful impacts

(Pollution control and catchment Management)

Gathering Water Resources Information, anaysis, storage and dessimination to stakeholders for decision making

Involvementof Stakeholders in coorpoate management water resources and catchment management: Involvement CAACs, WRUAs and public consultations before critical decisions are made.

Promote and encourage water use efficiency- through water use charges • Catchment management and protection

We are very much awake to the fact that the Constitution of Kenya (CoK, 2010) is the Supreme Law of the Republic of Kenya, and that it binds all persons and all State Organs at National and County levels. We are also conscious to the constitutional reality that

sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and shall be exercised only in accordance with the Constitution either directly or through democratically elected representatives at National and County levels of government. Never the less, the sovereign power is also delegated to the State Organs as long as the validity or legality of the Constitution is not subject to challenge by or before any Court or other State Organ

Through the Constitution of Kenya 2010, certain water Resources Management functions have been transferred to the County Governments. Chief among these is the one for catchment management and protection. In view of these developments, and for us to remain constitutionally compliant, we have proceeded as follows:


 Assessed all our current functions, unbundled them and Developed a draft Transition Implementation Plan, which we are in the process of discussing with the Transition Authority and other key stakeholders

 Re-examined WRMA functions and we are ready to continue being implementers at National level and facilitators at county level. We are ready to provide the necessary technical advice to the counties or operate as contracted agents to enable effective and efficient services provision to the people of Kenya.

The WRMA at the National level will continue to offer the following crucial Water Resources Management services to the County Governments that are sharing one River Basin, water body or aquifer;

• Provide information on Water Resources availability, use, allocation and viable

options for Water resources investments planning to meet any water deficit for the County’s developmental needs

• Support the assessment of water resources to inform planning and decision making • Work with the Concerned County Governments to domesticate the development and

management plans as contained in the National Water Master Plan 2030 and jointly prepare an implementation matrix for each plan.

• Apportion the water resources equitably among various users and uses including

maintaining the reserve

• Work with the concerned County Governments to protect water resources from

harmful impacts.

In providing this framework, WRMA is alive to theobjects of devolutionas stipulated in Article 174 and will abide by them.



Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) is a parastatal body under the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources charged with responsibility of being the Lead Agency in managing water resources and catchment areas in Kenya.


The institution is headed by a Governing Board of Directors. The Board is composed of the Chairman; appointed by the president and Directors. The Directors’ composition is as follows: Substantive Directors-6 No. and 4 representatives of the ministries in charge of water affairs, National Treasury, environment and state corporations. These ten members are appointed by the Minister in charge of water affairs.

The Chief Executive Officer is the Principal Officer of the Authority, who, subject to the directions of the Governing Board is responsible for the management of the affairs of the institution.

This is a National Institution with administrative arrangements at Regional and Sub Regional levels whose boundaries are based on River drainage systems. WRMA has one National office, six Regional offices and twenty six Regional offices whose locations are shown in the attached map.


Picha 1



The vision of WRMA is

“To be a global player in Water Resources Regulation and Management”

3. Mission

WRMA has a mission

“To effectively regulate and manage water resources in collaboration with stakeholders for sustainable development”

4. Core Values

Our core values are summarized in the acronym of CEIPT denoting:

 Customer focused

 Equal Opportunity Employer

 Equity

 Involvement

 Professionalism

 Transparency and Accountability

5. WRMA Mandate 5.1 The water act 2002

The Water Act 2002 made WRMA to be the lead agency in water resources management and gave the following powers and functions;

 To develop principles and guidelines for the allocation of water resources


 To manage and protect water catchments

 To determine charges to be imposed for the use of water from any water resource  To gather and maintain information on water resources and from time to time publish

forecasts, projections and information on water resources

 To liaise with other bodies for the better management of water resources  To advise the Minister on any matter in connection with water resources.

5.2 The Constitution of Kenya 2010

The Constitution of Kenya has placed the following Water Resources regulation and management functions on the National Government:

Water Resources Management Functions that have been allocated to the National Government are spelt out in items 2, 19, 22, 24, and 32 of the 4th schedule, part 1, on distribution of functions. These are:

Sec 2. The use of international waters and water resources- implying control and regulation of water use everywhere in the Republic. This is irrespective of where the source is.

Sec 19. National public works-Water Resources Development; especially on permitting and ensuring compliance to permit conditions on water retaining infrastructure and works on water bodies

Sec 22. Protection of the environment and natural resources with a view to establishing a durable and sustainable system of development, including, in particular

(c) water protection, securing sufficient residual water, hydraulic engineering and the safety of dams

Sec 24. Disaster management-Water Related disasters like flooding , drought and landslides


WRMA is undertaking these functions on account of being a national institution and the lead agency in water resources management, on behalf of the National


Water Resources Management Functions that have been devolved to the County Governments are spelt out in Sections (10, 11&12), 2& 8 of the fourth schedule part 2

Sec 10. Implementation of specific national government policies on natural resources and environmental conservation, including

(a) soil and water conservation.

Sec 11. County public works and services, including

(a) stormwater management systems in built-up areas.

Sec 12. Fire fighting services and disaster

management-Especially on water related disasters

Sec 2. County Health srvices, including in particlar

(g) refuse removal,refuse damps and solid waste disposal- although this is not strictly a Water Resources Managemet function; the activities impact negatively on water quality and therefore their design needs to be taken this into account during physical planning, in relation to water bodies around the sites.


The water sector has undergone tremendous reforms since the adaption of the National policy on water Resources Development and Management of 1999. These reforms were geared towards improved water and sanitation services provision, sustainable use, control and management of water Resources. As part of the reform process, Kenya had to look


Water is a finite, vulnerable and an essential resource which should be managed in an integrated manner-under this WRMA has adopted the River Basin approach to managing water resources

Water resources development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving all relevant stakeholders- in our case we work harmoniously with the Water Resource Users’ Association(WRUAs), Catchment Areas Advisory Committees (CAACs) and the people of Kenya through Public Consultations.

Women play a central role in the provision, management and safeguarding of

water-This have been mainstreamed constitutionally through the 30% gender representation and has been well rooted in the water sector down to the grassroots levels.

Water has an economic value and should be recognised as an economic good,

taking into account affordability and equity criteria.-Under this, we charge minimal tariff for abstraction permits and we are also pursuing the User and polluter pays principle in collaboration with other authorities.

The water use charge has four main water resources management functions;

To support WRMA in obtaining accurate data on water use for planning and allocation purposes

Increase water use efficieny. When a cost element is incured, one is bound to check the possible areas to cut costs. One such area is to reduce wasted water through in effeicient systems and methods of use. This increases efficiency in water use

Given effect to the princle that water is an economic good for those who are using it for productive purposes.

Provide the much needed funds to support water resources management functions

WRMA sees more potentiality and better chances of sustainability in use if Water resources will continue to be managed along the River drainage Basins. This argument is based on the Trans County nature of water catchment areas, aquifers and the resource flow patterns,


WRMA will continue to serve the Counties from the Established Sub Regional and Regional offices


Kenya has embraced the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management in order to operationalize the above principle.

This implies that WRMA must contact its operations through:

A multi-sectoral approach to water resources management

Representation of all stakeholders-This is essential especially when critical

decisions affecting them are being made.

Consideration of all physical aspects of the water resources- All uses,

sometimes conflicting, must be considered in decision making

Considerations of sustainability and the environment- the maintenance of the

reserve flow must be guaranteed. This is now a Constitutional requirement placed on the National Government. It is also a sure way to minimize water use conflicts


a. Water Resources Monitoring network

WRMA has been able to set up a water resources Monitoring network across the country. The information so generated is used for water allocation decision making, water resources investment projects, production of water situation reports and for research work.


WRMA has, incollabortion with Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF), developed a framework to support grass roots communities to effectively participate in coorperate magement of water resources and protection of catchment areas. The WDC framework has been very effective and popular. This can be supported further through collaborative arrangements with County Governments. Question: Will WRMA continue to work with WRUAs in


c. Water resources assessment

WRMA has been carrying out water resources assesments for our water bodies. This involves surface and ground water resources in terms of Quantity and Quality. This is work is in progress and will be very useful in supporting the County Governments water resources investments decision making. Currently we are compiling

information on water resources availability for Isiolo County. Groundwater

assessment for Turkana and Marsabit Counties is planned for. Similar work has been carried out in Nairobi ground water borehole sensus.

This will continue with a view to cover the whole country.

d. National Water Master Plan 2030.

WRMA is the implementing Agency for the project on the development of the

National Water Master Plan 2030. This project is being supported by the Government of Japan through JICA. The plan gives detailed information of how water will be

managed and developed to meet the Country’s development needs, as envisaged in the Vision 2030, taking into consideration the impacts of Climate change. It is divided into nine Sub Plans for each of the six catchment areas. The Sub Plans are:

1) Water Supply Development Plan 2) Sanitation Development Plan 3) Irrigation Development Plan 4) Hydropower Development Plan 5) Water Resources Development Plan 6) Water Resources Management Plan


The final report is expected in December 2013 and will be shared with all County Governments to support them in their Water Resources Investement decision making.

Efforts will be made to produce County Specific plans.

e.Institutional capacity development for Flood management

WRMA and by extension WRUAs are being supported to develop capacity to manage floods in flood prone areas. The support is from the Government of Japan through JICA. Community capacity is being developed in three pilots areas in Isiolo, Taveta and Gucha Migori sub catchments. The idea is to empower WRMA officers and WRUAs mainstream flood management activities in their Sub-Catchment Management Plans (SCMP).

The ultimate aim is to develop and implement integrated River basin flood

management plans for the flood prone areas of the country. This will be guided by sub plans in the National Water Master Plan 2030 on Flood and drought


8. WRM projects that are concurrent at National and County Governments


The following Water Ressource Management functions have been devolved to the County Governments. They were partly being done by WRMA with other stakeholders. They also have a strong impact on Water resources dowstream of the particular County and hence the need for integration of these functions to cover several Counties.

Storm water Drainage;

This is crucial since depending on how urban storm water is evacuated, it may cause flooding downstream. Storm water drainage should therefore be consistent with the particular river basin Integrated Flood Management Plan. As we develop Integrated River Basin Flood management plans, all the storm drainage arrangement must fit into the overal plan


within and beyond one county. Such a function requires an integrated and cross county governments approach. WRMA has been carrying out this function and may be better placed to efficiently deliver on this function on behalf of the two levels of governments, which even though are distinct but are also interdependent.

The County Governments could be called upon during the SCMP preparation and implementation of Sub Catchment Management Plans. This will ensure hamornious water and soil conservation programs.

In line with Article six of the Constitution, WRMA as a State Organ shall ensure reasonable access to its services in all parts of the Republic through continued capacity development and involvement of Water Resources Users‘ Associations (WRUAs). This will continue in so far as it is appropriate to do so having regard to nature of the service. The Sub Regional offices will play a critical role in this.

9. WRMA Services on Transition to County Governments

The Authority will provide the following crucial water resources information to the County Governments that are sharing a common River Basin or aquifer to enable harmonious resource management and development approach;

• Water Resources availability, use, allocation and viable options for Water resources

investments planning to meet any water deficit for the Countys’ developmental needs

• Reports on the assessment of water resources to inform the County’s water

resources investments decision making

• Share the development and management plans as contained in the National Water

Master Plan 2030 and jointly prepare an implementation matrix for each relevant plan.


Annual Water Resources Reports will be availed to the County Governments. Information will also be disseminated through the catchment management forums where the County Governments sharing a common water body will be members


In conclusion, the Constitution has set in a new dispensation which embraces devolution. Functions have been distributed between the National and County governments in the 4th schedule either as exclusive or shared with provision for residual functions which are automatically taken up by the national government. Some of the Authority’s current

functions have been allocated to the National government while some are allocated to the County governments. Our approach is to ensure reasonable access to our services in all parts of the Republic during this trasitional period. We are also in consultation with all key stakeholders to assist us unbundle our functions and decentralize the functions, as


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