Impacts of Farm Management Practices on Levels of Nitrates And Phosphates in water Along the Kithinu And Mutonga Rivers Catchment Areas, Kenya

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This study aimed at assessing the impacts of farm management practices on levels of nitratesand phosphates in water along the river Kithinu and Mutonga catchments areas, where small holder irrigation projects exists. Laboratory assessments of water quality at points upstream, within and downstream of theirrigation projects were done. Information on farm management practices was also obtained by use ofquestionnaires, interviews, focus discussions and observation from the farmers. From the study, farmers in theirrigation projects use a wide range of agrochemicals in crop production. They also widely use both organicand inorganic soil amendments in their farms. Soil conservation measures and protection of the riparian areasis also not embraced by all. Nitrate values detected in some sampling sites were beyond the recommended WHOand KEBS standards for drinking water. It was thus concluded that the lack of good farm management practicesin the study area was contributing to the presence of nitrates and phosphates in water, which is impactingnegatively on the ecosystem health of the area.The study further recommends more education to be done to farmers on good farm management practices and constant water quality monitoring for sustainable food production.