[Anonymous].  Submitted.  Moving towards a MUS approach.

Presentation by Katie Spooner of CAFOD on moving towards a MUS approach and building resilience and sustainability.

[Anonymous].  Submitted.  MUS and water resources in Kenya.

Presentation by Simon Maddrell of Excellent, pioneers of sand dams, on MUS, water security and sand dams in Kenya.

[Anonymous].  Submitted.  Resilience building in Kenya Arid Lands .

Presentation on the Kenya Arid Lands project which is working to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and build resilience to climate change. See also the calculation example for assessing water needs.

[Anonymous].  Submitted.  Productive Use of Domestic Rural Water Systems The Kenya Case.

A presentation given by Ralph Hall (Virginia Tech), Jenna Davis, Sara Marks (Stanford University) and Robert Hope (University of Oxford) on productive use of domestic rural water systems : the Kenya case, at the 2012 MUS-group meeting in Washington, DC.

[Anonymous].  Submitted.  Kenya: the Kabuku water project.

Get a glimpse of what was done throughout the Kabuku Water Project in Kenya by watching these two videos. The project assisted the people of Kabuku to grow their vegetables to meet basic needs and to keep livestock.



[Anonymous].  Submitted.  Kenya: domestic water utilisation and its influence on the household livelihood of a rural community in Ukambani, Eastern Province (English).


Water policy in Kenya recognises use for drinking purposes, but does not address its growing demand and competing uses. In rural areas, water resources are used for a combination of basic human needs and productive purposes. These economic activities such as vegetable gardens, cattle farming, beer brewing amongst others, are highly dependent on reliable and adequate water supply (Nicol, 2000). Water serves in a wide range of productive uses to secure food and non-food income for rural households. It is a productive asset for the poor and an economic good, which, can be combined with other assets to generate financial and non-financial livelihood benefits (Mokgope & Butterworth, 2001). The aim of this study was to assess how the local community make their livelihood choices, determine the role water plays in these choices and how it affects their incomes and their food security.

The study area is located in Eastern Province of Kenya covering the districts of Machakos, Makueni, Kitui and Mwingi, with a population of 2.5 million people scattered over an area of 44,680 km² (Moresmau & Hanne, 2004). Their main source of income is subsistence agriculture. Unfavourable climatic conditions in the region are one of the factors leading to frequent food shortage and increasing poverty. The Integrated Natural Resource Management Project in Ukambani (INRMU) funded by the Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC) in collaboration with the Government of Kenya’s was chosen as the entry point for the study.


The survey was carried out in January 2005 in Machakos and Makueni districts.The household was the unit of analysis as it is the basis of livelihood economic activities, resource allocation and utilization. 27 households in the project and 30 outside the project were sampled. Data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussion (Ochieng, 2005).

The main occupation of the sample population is farming (80.7%) followed by salaried employment (12.3%) and trading (7.0%). 82% of the households own land, with the average ownership being 3.6 acres.

Type of water access, storage capacity, water expenses and participation in a water activity was significantly (p<0.1) different between the households in and those not in the project. The type of water access is the best distinguishing water use characteristic. The source of water, type of water access, storage capacity and monthly water expenditure had a significant (p<0.10) influence on household choice to participate in productive water use. The distance from water source was not significantly different (p>0.10) and does not influence household’s choice to engage in productive water use.

Most household have communal water access compared to private water points. Majority of households with private water points (92%) participate in productive water use with (83%) of them participating in BTC project compared to 51% with communal access who take part in productive water use (table 4). This agree with the findings of Hope et al. (2003), in a study in a rural community in South Africa, in which they found a positive association between the ability to involve in irrigation of vegetables and owning private water-supply.

Only 37.5% of households with community water projects are engaged in productive water use. Thus some households despite being in the BTC project are yet to derive any benefits and are not involved in productive water use. Reasons for this include inadequate water storage capacity, and inability to raise cost-sharing component for participation in the project. Households may be involved in none water-related or water-intensive livelihood options such as preparation of snacks or beer brewing for sale.

The cost of water depends on the household water use and collection strategy. Households participating in income related water activity incur relatively higher water expenses. High cost of water during the dry season, discourage participation in income related water activity. Mokgope & Butterworth (2001) in their study on rural water-supply and productive uses in South Africa found a similar problem and stated that this affected households’ participation in water activities.

The region is susceptible to frequent water shortages. It’s unclear why several households have no storage capacity and get water on a daily basis which is inefficient, laborious and time consuming. It’s probable that this is caused by inadequate capital to install storage facilities. Those with ability to pump water participate in water dependant economic activity and have large storage capacities. Households who harvest rain water have also invested on storage facilities. Water storage capacity does influence household water utilisation pattern.

Households generate income by using water for selected productive uses like vegetable production, livestock production and water sales. The primary productive water use activity was crop production (46 %). The large variation in incomes from vegetable cropping may probably be attributed to the irrigation technique, the type of vegetable grown and targeted market. Encouraging export crops require proper infrastructure, proper storage facilities and enabling marketing policies. Although vegetable production show an important contribution to the incomes of the households in the area, its sustainability and impact on poor households require further investigation.

Income of the households in the project and households participating in water activity were significantly (p<0.05) higher having a mean monthly income of KES 13605.9 while households outside the project had a mean of KES 6489.4.

The most preferred methods of irrigation were drip, furrow and manual irrigation. Those using drip irrigation are 17.5% indicating low adoption rate for this water saving technology. Drip irrigation showed higher water use efficiency, thus water quantity per se, may not be as critical in productivity as opposed to the efficiency in its utilisation. Fewer households use drip irrigation as its installation is costly and the skill of installation is beyond the means of the average and poorer households.

Unexpectedly, 77.2% and 75.4% stated that high cost of water and low incomes respectively are not constraints to household water utilisation. It is probable that water at this moment is not fully priced to reflect its demand and value.


This rural community views water as a productive asset and is engaging in on-farm income related water activities. Off-farm activities are limited/less favoured. Private water access influence participation in a water related activity compared to communal access. Knowledge on water harvesting and storage techniques is important since water storage capacity influences household participation in productive water use. The absolute amount of water used has no significant effect on incomes but rather the water use efficiency.

Water utilisation is hampered by inadequate water storage facilities, poor water harvesting techniques and limited skill or opportunities in water income activities. Enhanced productivity is undermined by poor infrastructure, unstable prices, poor access to market and inadequate market information.


This study shows that

  • Private water access policy is likely to enhance productive water use.
  • Policies that promote efficient water use technologies can enhance household productivity
  • Marketing infrastructure and information is key to sustainable household productive water use

There is need to:

  • Evaluate optimal options for on-farm and off-farm productive water use
  • Assess opportunities for enhancing the participation of the poorest households in projects with cost sharing components.
  • Identify policies and constraints that affect adoption of technologies with efficient water use.
  • Determine the role of gender in household livelihood in relation to productive water use


Hope, R.A., Dixion, P-J., Von Maltitz, G., 2003. The Role of Improved Domestic Water Supply in livelihoods and Poverty Reduction in Limpopo province, South Africa, in International Symposium on water ,poverty and productive uses at household level, 21-23 January, Muldersdrift, South Africa, p. 94-108.

Mokgope, K. and Butterworth, J. A., 2001. Rural water supply and productive use: A Rapid Survey in SandRiver Catchment. WHIRL working paper (4), p.1-21.

Moresmau, V. and Hanne, P., 2004. Efficiency Use of Water in Ukambani-Kenya. A report by UNESCO and BTC-Kenya. Primex printers Ltd, Nairobi, Kenya. .p.28.

Nicol, A., 2000. Adopting a Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to Water Projects. Implication for policy and practice. ODI working paper (133). LondonUK.

Ochieng, N.C., (2005). Improved Domestic Water Utilization and Livelihood in Rural Kenya: MSc Thesis.GhentUniversity.


One dollar equals KES75


Consela Ochieng, Belgium (