Water is vital and a key element of any sustainable growth. However availability is constantly threatened due to increased demand arising from population growth, urbanization and climatic changes among others. Kenya is not an exception to this. Although a fast growing agricultural economy at a rate of 5.5%, the country has been labelled a water scarce country. Therefore water sector reforms introduced the need for stakeholder’s participation under the Water Act 2002. In this light the legal framework supported participation of multiple actors; stakeholders including government, non-governmental organizations and community to help in management of the dwindling resources. Through decentralization, hydrological basins and sub basins were established to get closer to the people in management of water resources. One mechanism sought for engagement was through establishment of Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) along the delineated sub catchments as platform for engagement with multiple actors. One such WRUA that was established is lower Rupingazi. It manages one of the sub basins with urban and rural characteristics covering the current Embu town, headquarter of Embu County. Based on reviewed literature that emphasized that institutionalization encourages participation, the researcher sought to carry out an explanatory research. The aim was to explain the influence of institutional arrangement on participation of stakeholders in Lower Rupingazi WRUA, Embu Kenya. The researcher employed a qualitative type of research design and carried out a case study. Using semi structured questions, the researcher conducted interviews to gain an in-depth understanding on the subject of institutional arrangement and participation. The data collected from the interviews was triangulated through the secondary data including the legislations, government reports and plans. Using atlas ti the outputs generated were used to analyze data to establish the institutional arrangement that affect the stakeholder’s participation in this sub catchment. The major findings were that there are various legislations that are related to water resource management. However there are duplications that lead to conflicts and at times impacted on the implementation of the activities on the ground. Equally there were overlapping mandates and unclear roles of some of the stakeholders depicted in the legislations. Further a gap in coordination mechanisms and weak enforcement of the legislations was noted. Also it was noted that although the legal framework support provision of financing for water resources management activities through the WRUA, it was inadequate and inconsistent. Equally, participation of the stakeholders was high whenever there were activities to be done. This was mostly when funds were available to implement the activities. The issue of enforcement came out strongly as the element of the institutional arrangement that was lacking watering down the intended goodwill of the legislations. The current legislations however are undergoing review to align to the Constitution of Kenya (COK) 2010. Therefore an opportunity exists to correct the anomalies given the two levels of government to avoid further complexity in duplication of activities and overlapping roles. Further enable clear coordination mechanisms to enhance participation of various actors.

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Ast, J. van (Jacko)
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Wawira Kareithi, M. (Millicent). (2016, September). Influence of institutional arrangements on stakeholder’s participation for effective urban river management. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/42218