The visit took place early March. The objective of the visit was to look into the policies and strategies that the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) of Kenya has developed, and how the policies and strategies are aligned with recent devolution of power to counties. The organizational integration of basin authorities with the national entity was also in focus, and the visitors also looked at how different Water Resources User Associations (WRUAs) are formed, supported and performing.
The exposure visit was planned by the WRMA management, the River Basin Regional and Sub-regional Offices and specific Water Resources User Associations. The Ethiopian visitors were nine members from the House of Peoples Representatives, the Ministry of Water irrigation and Energy, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Center for Development and Capacity Building, Sustainable Land Use Forum, and the Ethiopian Country Water Partnership. The visiting delegation was led by HE Dr Gemeda Binegde, Natural Resource Development and Environmental Protection Affairs Standing Committee Deputy Chairman of House of Peoples Representatives (the Ethiopian Parliament).
Mr Richard Mutua, Executive Director of the Kenya Water Partnership and Dr. Tena Alamirew, Executive Secretary of the Ethiopia Country Water Partnership, facilitated the exchange visit.
The Ethiopian delegation focused on:
- The process that the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) of Kenya has gone through; the different policy development process, the effort to align the policy vis-a-vis the 2010 constitution, and the Water Resources Users Association (WRUA) Development cycle (WDC). The team also noted that all six River systems in Kenya have well established and effectively functioning institutions in charge of water management at catchment (basin) and sub catchment (sub-basin) scale.
- Practical experience in partnership building for better impact such as World Wide Fund For nature (WWF) that developed Lake Naivasha Integrated Water Management Plan, and KenGen for Payment for Ecosystem services (PES) initiatives. In terms of water management the delegation was informed how KenGen – the public – private power generating company is working under WRMA. It pays for the amount of water it uses and effectively discharges its corporate social responsibility.
- The team from the field visit also learned how water centred development can be designed to encompass other livelihood improvement initiatives and how the plans of county government can incorporate the watershed level planning initiatives.