The Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA), a statutory organization, was set up in 1979 to manage the entire catchment area of all rivers drainage into Lake Victoria. Its performance was poor due to centralized decision-making and a lack of user involvement. Most water resources were allocated for the needs of the elite; water suffered from severe eutrophication.
In 1995 LBDA decided to decentralize management, through the creation of district entities. In the first years, priority goals of the reform were to achieve access to basic water requirements for the poor, as well as quality of water and improving availability of water for livestock, irrigation, and gardening.
A comprehensive water resources survey was made by LBDA; choice of technologies is made by users; protection and improvement of traditional water management systems were conceived to conserve and protect water catchment, spring sources, using indigenous vegetation; previous conflicts with community beliefs on sanitation practices have been avoided; hand pumps for drinking water have been expanded in the region; the project facilitated creation of a network of small entrepreneurs responsible for O & M; spring protection encompassing indigenous and modern techniques is now common; LBDA functions on a cost-sharing basis with local communities.
- LBDA ability to generate funds from its activities is important;
- When properly informed and with incentives, communities can make a sustainable use of water resources; indigenous systems and practices coupled with modern technologies and systems have proved their efficiency government had a critical role to facilitate involvement of all users and provide incentives and an enabling environment.
Importance of case for IWRM
This case covers a large area and a large population; interesting mix of public and community involvement; mix of traditional and modern technologies and systems; the case can be assessed over a long time span (more than 20 years). The participatory approaches linked to respect for environmental issues make it relevant for IWRM.
Photo credit: Ninara