Water is a basic necessity for life. When people gain access to clean water, amazing things happen.
Jobs are created, sicknesses are prevented and communities are transformed. Water scarcity is a
real problem in ASAL regions in Kenya of which Kieni East area is part. The major cause of this
scarcity is inadequate rainfall coupled with unpredictable rainfall patterns especially with the
increasing climate change.
The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of water harvesting in Kieni East with a
particular case study of Burguret Dam. This was conducted through door to door interviews,
photography and administering questionnaires to the residents of Burguret area.
The study found out that the water harvested through river abstraction in Burguret dam is mainly
used for irrigation at Tambuzi horticultural farm which is a flower growing company. The annual
volumes of water used for irrigation for the year 2012, 2013 and 2014 were found to be 187,347
m3, 242,203 m3 and 244,697 m3 respectively. Besides irrigation, the water is also used for domestic
purposes within the company premises and for livestock both in the farm and from the
neighbouring community. The company has a permit for water abstraction acquired from WRMA
Embu branch which is renewed after every five years at a fee of Kshs 25,000. Tambuzi
horticultural farm whose establishment was as a result of Burguret Dam has offered employment
to about 500 people from Burguret community thus improving their livelihoods. The company
also engages in CSR by supporting education, health services provision and recreation activities
such as sports. On a negative note though, the dam is a breeding ground for mosquitoes which are
Malaria spreading agents. It also causes flooding of neighbouring farms during heavy rains and
blocks a nearby road rendering it impassable. It was established that the main reasons why
rainwater harvesting is not commonly practiced in Kieni East is lack of finances required for
constructing reservoirs and the fact that there are few rivers in the region.
Seeing that there are more positive impacts (including employment opportunities, health services
provision, and facilitation of education and recreation activities) emanating from water harvesting
in the study area, the residents of Kieni East should embrace and practice water harvesting but also
ensure proper management of the available water resources.


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