NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Improved Water Economics in Sub-catchments of Kenya (IWESK) [NDF C62 B 5]

Photo: Kari Hämekoski
Photo: Kari Hämekoski
The project will improve water measurement, water sale and water use efficiency in adaptation to climate change

Improved Water Economics in Sub-catchments of Kenya (IWESK)
Ref:  NDF C62 B 5

Nordic Partner: ORGUT Consulting AB
Local Partners: Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF), Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) and Rural Focus Ltd.
Total Project Cost: EUR 995,000
NCF Financing: EUR 497,000
Agreement Signed: 11 November 2014
Project Classification: Adaptation
Duration: 30 Months

Project Objective

The objective of the project is to promote sustainable livelihood development and economic growth through improved commercialized management of limited water resources in selected sub catchments in Kenya.


Despite the recent achievements, water resources management in Kenya, particularly in the Ewaso Ngiro Catchment faces serious challenges, such as only partial regulation, inadequate enforcement of rules, competition over scarce water resources that are leading to conflicts, degradation of catchment areas and severe pollution. The NCF1 project Building Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change produced tools for improved adaptation strategies, better understanding of critical issues in the catchments and training and information packages to be used by Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) and local actors. Extensive training for WRMA was undertaken in modelling and adaptation strategies during the project.

The IWESK project will support green growth through addressing the financial and commercial viability and efficient use of water resources, focused on the sustainable development of agricultural production systems. The project works at a local and national level to improve water measurement, water sale and water use efficiency in adaptation to climate change, in an area of Kenya where water provides high value addition but is a limited commodity at sub catchment level. This will entail improvements to the water resources regulation through the construction of regulatory structures such as common intakes and self-regulating weirs improving equal allocation of water, installation of bulk and consumer meters to reduce non-revenue water and improvements to the efficiency of abstraction, fee collection and overall financial viability of water supply systems, and introduction of ”the WRUA Agency Model”, where the Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) are mandated to collect raw water fees on behalf of WRMA, and retaining a part of the collected fees. 

The project will also promote efficient water use productivity of vegetables and other farm produce through on site storage and drip irrigation. This is done by cooperating with WRUAs in creation of model farms, where farmers use drip irrigation, on-farm storage, rainwater harvesting, artificial wetlands and greenhouse technology.

Relevance for Climate Change

The project will support water utilities in improving their efficiency of water use, as well as assist WRUAs in pollution control measures in their sub-catchments, to preserve the quality of limited water resources. The main output in terms of the WRUA sustainability is creating a financial instrument for the WRUAs to finance their regular promotional/software and regulatory operations. This is important, as WRUAs are the main local level actors able to undertake climate change adaptation activities on the ground. Practical adaptation measures of the project will include investments in SMART metering for water measurement for irrigation and domestic water provision, on-farm storage, efficient water use irrigation technologies such as drip-irrigation in combination with the use of green houses, artificial wetlands, soil and water management measures, such as terracing, agro-forestry for farmers, and pollution control, silt traps, water abstraction regulating structures.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

IWESK introduces two major innovations:

1) promoting access to commercial financing for Water Users: Farmers, irrigation water users and water utilities for improved water use efficiency (generating additional water related incomes and increasing water availability for others for similar commercial purposes) and 
2) improving the regulatory function by engaging the Water Resources Users Associations in the piloting of the “Agency Model” where WRUAs are to be engaged in the collection of raw water fees as agents of the Water Resources Management Authority, retaining part thereof or being compensated for their level of effort (empowering and sustaining local participation in water resources management).

Key recent milestones achieved as of February 2017

  • Water Resource Baseline Report (abstraction, permitting and monitoring) completed
  • Manual on Billing and Revenue Collection Systems developed
  • Investment baseline and assessment of financing options for improved water use efficiency investments completed

More information

Water Services Trust Fund
Water Resources Management Authority
Rural Focus Ltd. 
NCF1 project Building Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change