Water scarcity influenced water use coping mechanisms in selected sites of Makueni County, Kenya



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Archives of Current Research International


Water constitutes a vital element of household food security for humans and livestock. Therefore,the general objective of this study was to establish the ease of water access, water scarcity andcoping strategies used by rural communities in selected study sites of Makueni (Kilili sub-locationin Makueni sub-county and Kyanguli sub-location in Kibwezi East sub-county), all located inMakueni County. The study involved a total of 70 households which were selected using clusterand simple random approach to gather quantitative data using household surveys. The data werecollected using a structured questionnaire and in-depth interviews with key informants. Thecollected data was coded and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).Results from the analysed data were presented using tables. Results obtained revealed thatmajority of the households obtained water from rivers (78%), followed by shallow wells (31%),boreholes (28%), sand dams (24%) and springs (11%). However, most respondents at Kyanguliobtained water from rivers (94%) compared to Kilili (62%). Further, at Kilili sub-location, majority of the households got water within less than 1 km (46%) while at Kyanguli most respondents gotwater within 1-3 km (48%). Five major water access problems were documented in the study sitesincluded increasing distance to water sources, high cost of water, dirty water, water scarcity andconflict with neighboring communities. In overall water scarcity was the commonest problem inboth study sites (77%), followed by dirty water (62%), increasing distance to water sources (45%),high cost of water (44%) and conflict with neighboring communities (43%). Water use copingmechanisms identified in the study included use of water harvesting structures, soil conservationtechniques, diversification of crop types and varieties, irrigation, water reuse, reducing number oflivestock and reduced water use. In overall the commonly used water copying mechanismsincluded soil conservation (85%), water reuse (71%), reduced livestock (64%), reduced water use(55%) and crop diversification (54%). We concluded that water scarcity, dirty water, increasingdistance to water sources, high cost of water and conflict with neighboring communities were themain challenges which led the households to develop water coping mechanisms in the selectedsites of Makueni County. We recommend the results of this study to be used by policy makers inwater development projects in Makueni to improve water availability and access in the selectedstudy sites.




Archives of Current Research International 6(4): 1-7