Community led payment for ecosystem services (PES) - nyangores catchment, Mara river basin
About the Implementing organization
Name: Mara River Water Users Association
Year of establishment: 2003
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Community enterprise or business / Public-private partnership
Demands on the Mara River are growing. The population of the river basin continues to increase (at an annual rate of 3%), which has led to a 55% increase in agricultural lands since 1996. This land conversion has come at the expense of the basin’s grasslands and forests. ‘Water abstractions’ for irrigation, industry and livestock needs are also on the rise. As a means of addressing poor land use practices and wanton destruction of the Mau forest, WWF - Kenya (The Mara Landscape Program) has partnered with the Association and piloted a Payment for Ecosystem Services in the Nyangores sub-catchment of the Mara basin. The initiative involves identifying downstream water users who are greatly affected by poor land use practices by the small scale farmers upstream and creating a favourable compensation for good farming practices that lead to improved water quality for downstream users such as water supply companies and other commercial interest dependent on clean water provision. The initiative provides for a mutually beneficial relationship for the communities living within the river basin and demonstrates the interdependence of all the sectors within a basin ecosystem.
Forests / Rivers
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up
Sustainable Development Element
Water security / Climate action
The water quality and quantity in Nyangores River and in the Mara River generally have continued to deteriorate over time. This is due to poor land use practices on the upper catchment, lack of soil and water conservation structures on steeply sloped lands, cultivation along riparian zones and planting of unfavourable species along riparian areas. This initiative counters this by having farmers terrace their lands, carry out sensitization on the proper land use and cultivating alternative crops such as cover crops (potato vines) for increased soil cover and improved soil vegetation cover leading to reduced erosion and improved water quality for down stream users. Through these initiatives, the sediment load at the stream (90mg/it) has been reduced significantly towards attaining the maximum required levels of 30mg/it. The initiative encourages the buyers(downstream water users) to promote these initiatives in the upper catchment that see the water quality improve through various forms.
Sustainable Development Impacts
The initiatives impacts on the following Sustainable development elements:
Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere through income generation.
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all through gainful farming
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation through linking markets to conservation.
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns through optimal land use
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Goal 15:Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss through conserving Mau
The initiative can easily be expanded to other basins in the country since we have already had a similar model currently running in the Lake Naivasha basin. Exchange of ideas and having learning excursions will also be used to promote the initiative by engaging an array of partners who are willing to support the initiative. Currently, we have local county governments who produce periodic integrated development plans and through the departments of agriculture and environment, there is an avenue for the adoption of these kinds of schemes in various basins. The scaling. up can also be improved by sharing the successes and also shortcomings of the initiatives for future improvements.
The initiative can easily be expanded to other basins in the country since we have already have a similar model currently running in the Lake Naivasha basin. Exchange of ideas and having learning excursions will also be used to promote the initiative by engaging an array of partners who are willing to support the initiative. Currently we have local county governments who produce periodic integrated development plans and through the departments of agriculture and environment, their is an avenue for the adoption of these kinds of schemes in various basins. The scaling. up can also be improved by sharing the successes and also shortcomings of the initiatives for future improvements.
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