Jun 21, 2010 by gkimega
On Thursday, May 20, 2010, environmental service sellers and buyers signed one of the very first environmental service contracts in Kenya. The aim is to secure livelihoods and habitats for biodiversity and economic development in the Lake Naivasha catchment.
With support from the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and CARE- Kenya, the contract was signed after a careful process of stakeholder analysis and dialogue followed by identification of environmental service sellers and buyers, trust building, development of a memorandum of understanding and fine tuning seller – buyer negotiations.
The Lake Naivasha environmental services contract is part of a joint WWF and CARE- Kenya scheme known as Equitable Payment for Watershed Services (EPWS). This environmental services scheme is geared towards providing downstream water users with quality water as the environmental service. The water is needed for agriculture, horticulture, ecotourism, fisheries, geothermal power generation and for the timber industry.
EPWS is also designed to benefit all stakeholders to ensure equity and sustainability of the project in the long run. Stakeholders include the private and public sectors as well as the local population.
The scheme entails land use transformation by upstream farmers through rehabilitating and maintaining riparian zones, planting grass strips and terracing steep slopes. Participating farmers are expected to cut down on the use of fertilizers and pesticides as a means of pollution reduction. Tree planting is another key component of the scheme.
Over 40ha of land is under conservation, with 565 farmers having planted 50,000 agroforestry trees. They have also planted a combination of Rhodes grass and Cock’s foot grass and 60,000 canes of Napier grass (KK1 variety). Sixteen bulking sites of Rhodes have been established in pilot sites.
In Naivasha, EPWS combines compensating upstream environmental service stewards for opportunities foregone with collaborative investment between environmental service providers and beneficiaries for increased income through sustainable management of the environment. Apart from watershed services, EPWS also includes forest services, biodiversity and landscape beauty.
How it was done
The contract is between the Wanjohi Water Resource Users Association (WRUA), the Upper Turasha WRUA and the Lake Naivasha Water Resource Users Association (LANAWRUA). Wanjohi and Upper Turasha associations, both located in the upper catchment, are the sellers while LANAWRUA is the downstream buyer. The sellers engaged the services of a lawyer during contract development.
The two upstream water resource user associations signed contracts on behalf of the 565 farmers implementing the EPWS scheme. LANAWRUA signed on behalf of the environmental service buyers. LANAWRUA is composed of the Lake Naivasha Growers Group (LNGG) and the Lake Naivasha Riparian Association (LNRA). LNGG is mostly made up of commercial horticulture and floriculture farms while LNRA consists of land owners around the lake. All these organizations are established as legal entities.
WWF and Care played acted as intermediaries and implementers through the partial provision of funds to ensure project cost effectiveness. The funds also helped in building the capacity of sellers for efficient project implementation.
Other stakeholders in the EPWS scheme are the Naivasha Water Resource Management Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture.
How it works
To appreciate and encourage upstream land owners to continue with provision of environmental services, LANAWRUA awarded US$ 5,840 to Wanjohi WRUA and another US$ 4,160 to Upper Turasha WRUA. Vouchers worth US$ 17 will be printed and delivered to the two WRUAs which will subsequently distribute them to selected shops within communities at EPWS pilot sites. Each voucher represents the annual payment to each farmer.
Individual farmers will redeem their US$ 17 vouchers and use them to purchase farm inputs and other basic household goods. The farmers are rewarded equally to compensate for opportunity costs based on environmental service provision and contribution to positive social-economic impacts.
The contract establishes a conflict resolution committee composed of buyers, sellers, the Water Resources Management Authority and WWF/Care representatives. The contract will be revised and/or renewed after one year.
As part of the EPWS scheme, socio-economic baseline survey was done and data analysis is in progress. Two progress review meetings have been held with respective water resource user associations. Also in progress are consultation meetings with other potential buyers. Four staff gauges have been installed along four rivers draining into Lake Naivasha while the two upstream water resource user associations have been issued with instruments to assess sediment levels in rivers.
An exchange visit to an EPWS site located in the Uluguru Mountains of Tanzania has already taken place. Meanwhile, a project monitoring plan for the upstream water resource user associations is under development.
Challenges faced in the EPWS venture include unpredictable weather, which impacted negatively on conservation structures especially in 2009, and land fragmentation due to increasing population density.
EPWS officers say that engaging more buyers is another challenge.
About the Author
Nyongesa Mukele Josephat works as Project Natural Resource Economist with World Wide Fund for Nature-Eastern Africa Regional Programme Office (WWF-EARPO), Lake Naivasha – Malewa MFS Project.
Fresh Water Programme CoordinatorWWF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Programme Office P.O. Box 62440 – 00200 Nairobi – Kenya Tel: +254 20 3877355, 38772630/1 Fax: +254 20 3877389
Field OfficeWWF Eastern Southern Africa Regional Programme Office MFS Linking Futures Project – Lake Naivasha Landscape P.O. Box 993, Naivasha – 20117 Kenya Office Tel: +254 50 2020891
Location of Lake Naivasha and its watershed area
View Lake Naivasha and its watershed area in a larger map