January 10, 2012 by
Supporting communities that live in watershed areas is therefore critical to ensuring the continued flow of fresh water to cities, farms and industry. Kenya’s water policy is however silent on how users of water can pay or otherwise compensate watershed communities for land use practices that reduce soil erosion while improving the flow of water.
This means that Kenya’s water service providers do not have guidelines on how to engage in payments for environmental services (PES). Indeed, for the most part, they are not sure whether engaging in PES is legal!
A new policy brief by the PRESA project discusses these issues, and presents four recommendations for policy and institutional changes that could make it possible to compensate communities for watershed services.
The policy brief titled, ‘Institutional and policy requirements for payments for watershed services in Kenya,’ is based on PRESA’s research at Sasumua, in the central highlands of Kenya.
A colonial-era water reservoir at Sasumua supplies 20% of the water consumed in the nation’s capital, Nairobi. The bulk of water in the reservoir flows from intensively cultivated farmland.