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Multi-stakeholder deliberation, decision-making and action is the most effective way of resolving water issues. In addition, empowering community-level organisations to manage their own water resources helps foster a greater sense of responsibility for their protection, helping to improve river ecosystem health and ensure cleaner and more reliable water supplies.

In Kenya, the law calls for local level participation in water management to ensure sustainable water use. As a result, 23 Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs) have been formed in the country: these are entirely voluntary – water users include small-scale farmers, pastoralists, schools, commercial farms, tourist lodges and other businesses. Part-funded through the HSBC Water Programme, WWF-Kenya has supported the WRUAs by supporting their establishment and registration, building their capacity and facilitating interaction between the communities and government agencies.

WWF’s aim is to make WRUAs inclusive, effective and sustainable organisations. To date, WRUA achievements have included: protecting riparian land and water sources; transforming bare, degraded land through agro-forestry; reducing the illegal disposal of waste in rivers; reducing conflicts over water resources; reducing illegal water abstraction; and increasing the crop yields and incomes of small-scale farmers while reducing soil erosion.

Read the case study (2017) PDF describing this work