Climate Change and Health, Starter for COP 21 Paris.

flower 1 flower2 flower 3 flower 4
Climate Change Has some Good news also. Like these flowers at the end of November 2015, Typical Fall time is like spring blossoms.
Climate Change and Health
Climate change as to my understanding is change in frequency of happening of extremes in climate. This can be increase or decrease of Rains, temperatures, winds.
mostly these extremities are sudden, unpredictable and the impact is further aggravated by poverty , which is so common in the developing and underdeveloped world.
Health has a direct and indirect correlation with these changes. sudden drop in temperatures which causes many chest related diseases, lack of information and resources, makes it impossible and difficult to protect the family from temperatures. Thus causing disease and death to the family.
similarly sudden rise in temperatures in Sindh and adjoining area of Pakistan caused hospitalization and death of several Pakistanis due to heat stroke.
Abnormal and sudden cold is causing pneumonia out break these days, supreme court had to take notice.
Extraordinary rains cause flood in Pakistan , collapse of roofs a walls cause injury and death. loosing home and being in the open with poor food and sanitation cause several post flood diseases.
Again less rains and drought has caused disease and death in Thar (SINDH) and so many infants and elderly have suffered due to this malnutrition.
2. Similarly animal health is also suffering due to sudden temperate changes, abnormal from what they are used to and grown to live with.
Even increased episodes of bird flue has been experienced in poultry industry , which is a back bone of our meat supplies.
3.Unpredictable temperature and rain cycle has disturbed the crop production pattern , thus impacting health of the crops and food change to human health.
We believe that the underdeveloped world did not contribute to the climate change, all the damaging gases were the out come of industrial development which was none of our fault.
But unfortunately we are suffering due to this development
of which we cannot do any thing except to learn to live with it. Poor technical know how and resources will not let us learn how to do that for a long time.
developed world may like to help us but cannot imagine our issues and unable to look for technologies to help us. Conferences like this, have many participants but most of them are only resourceful persons on a paid leisure trip and do not know the on ground issues.
Think virtual discussions may be the only way to communicate.

Islamabad High Court ,IHC moved against supply of contaminated water in capital

IHC moved against supply of contaminated water in capital
- Tuesday, November 24, 2015From Print Edition


A petition has been filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) alleging that the residents of the federal capital were forced to drink polluted and contaminated water on account of CDA’s negligence.

The petition sought directions for the CDA to improve its water filtration plants in the federal capital to ensure safe drinking water supply to the residents.

Petitioner Iftikhar Hussain, a resident of Sector I-10/2, has nominated the Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman, CDA Water Management Cell director general and the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) chairman as respondents.

The petitioner contended before the court that the CDA and its Water Management Cell installed some 28 water filtration plants in the city for provision of safe and filtered drinking water to the residents by spending millions of rupees. However, the present conditions of these filtration plants is deplorable due to non-maintenance. Most of these plants have missing taps, rusty pipes, broken tiles and garbage littered around.

Moreover, for a filtration plant to work, it is necessary to change its filters every two months but in the federal capital these filters were not changed since they were installed, the petitioner alleged. As a result, most of these plants are dysfunctional and supplying polluted water.

The petitioner contended that it seems the CDA is giving very low priority to safe drinking water. The CDA has recently handed over the management of these water filtration plants to private persons after authorizing them. But the CDA and its Water Management Cell never bothered to take water samples and test in laboratory verifying that whether or not water supplied by filtration plants is safe for consumption.

The petitioner prayed to the court to direct the civic body to change rusty pipes installed at filtration plants, change filters and take samples verifyingthe quality of water.


3kg worms removed from boy’s stomach



Old Lessons learnt at world water Forum, Istanbul

Old Story of my visit to Istanbul to attend the world water Forum. Had a great experience of  visit , Turkish hospitality students trying to facilitate the participants and meeting the real wash giants on the stair lunch boxes. Had a practical experience of the truth in < saying good bye on a bridge>. But coming to technical learning

1. A bottom line from almost all the sessions , was ” we  seriously need to improve our knowledge Base in Water sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) via capacity building is South Asia and Africa.” Unfortunately it is still true after half a decade. The things are not moving in the right direction.

2. The second lesson that i learnt out of the conference hall in the Hotel near Taqseem Square was , if you want to save water , have the drains in your shower and wash basin of small openings. So you cannot open more water, least it floods your room.

best of luck and regards

Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, world Toilet Day

Dear WSSCC Members,
The WSSCC team would like to wish you a healthy and productive World Toilet Day!
We would like to provide a brief overview of what WSSCC is doing to broadcast our message of improving sanitation & hygiene for all.

Devex Twitter Chat
WSSCC participated in a Twitter discussion that brought together leaders in the sanitation space to explore what needs to be done to deliver universal access to sanitation and how improving sanitation will accelerate progress across a range of essential development areas. The chat will be held from 4-5pm GVA time. The other participating organizations included the Toilet Board Coalition; USAID; WSSCC; UN Water; and WaterAid.

Do you have any ideas you want to share? If so, please follow @WatSanCollabCou and Tweet answers to the below questions using the following hashtags: #SanitationIs and #WorldToiletDay

Questions :

  • The world missed the MDG for sanitation – how do we ensure we achieve SDG6.2?
  • How can multi-sector collaborations address the sanitation crisis?
  • How do the challenges for providing urban and rural sanitation differ?
  • Would progress on sanitation accelerate the other SDGs, e.g. gender equality?
  • How will innovation disrupt and advance sanitation services?
  • How can we create a better  enabling  environment for sanitation?

In honour of World Toilet Day, Chris Williams has co-authored an article with USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment, and the Agency’s first Global Water Coordinator, responsible for overseeing USAID’s global water portfolio. Please see here for the link:

The Huffington Post prominently features articles that get a lot of clicks. So, we need your help! Below is a list of quick and easy steps you can take to increase the visibility:

  1. Email lists: Send a short note with a link to your post to any lists you’re on – all of your  partners, vendors, or even just family/friends should get a note. Encourage them to comment! Our experience shows that often the more comments a post attracts, the better it does in generating clicks and more comments. Create a community around your post, and help it grow by starting with your own personal community. Encourage your friends to share it as well.
  2. Facebook/Twitter: Share your post via Facebook or Twitter! Facebook makes it especially easy to share links through what they call “Posted Items.” Click here: and paste your permalink into the box titled Post a Link. Below is sample language for a Tweet:
    WSSCC & @USAIDGH call for improved sanitation for 1/3 of world’s population  #WorldToiletDay
  3. Blogs that cover the topic of sustainable development: If you think this blog is something that a specific blog might be interested in, send it their way with a brief, polite note explaining why you thought they might find it interesting.
  4. Friends = Fans: Encourage your friends to become a “fan” on Huffington Post, by proceeding to any post of yours on the site andclicking the link that reads, “Become a Fan.” After doing so, they will automatically get an email letting them know when we’ve published something.
Also, please see the following link for an article written by WSSCC’s Nepal NC Guna Raj, which describes the impact of the devastating earthquake, which shook the country seven months ago, on the national effort to address the sanitation and hygiene situation in Nepal; the short to long term recovery plans; and what can global citizens can do to support:

Social Media
Throughout the day, WSSCC will be posting images and messages to WSSCC’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Please see attached for two social media images to share through your own personal networks!

Guardian Q&A
WSSCC also participated in a 2-hour online discussion on ending open defecation. The details are as follows:
The title of the Q&A is: Ending open defecation by 2030 – are toilets enough? See the full discussion in the comments section of the following link: ( 

Please follow along and show your support to WSSCC!
Happy World Toilet Day!



WSSCC increases support to Swachh Bharat ( CLEAN INDIA) Mission

Source increases support to Swachh Bharat Mission

Date: 2nd November 2015

It is good to have a cleanliness campaign in INDIA, but cleanliness and health has to be beyond borders. let us all in south Asia join hands to have clean south Asia, In Fact it has to be WASH sans Borders to be useful.




New Delhi, India – 30 October 2015 – Today, the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) announced that it will amplify its support to the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the Government of India’s (GOI) programme to achieve a Clean India by 2019, by establishing an in country India Support Unit and bolstering its work linked to the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF). The Government has welcomed these moves, which enhance WSSCC’s normative and implementation work to improve access and use, equality, knowledge and collaboration in sanitation and hygiene. WSSCC has appointed Mr. Vinod Mishra, previously the organization’s volunteer National Coordinator, to the position of National Officer in a new India Support Unit (ISU). Mr. Mishra will lead a WSSCC team of three professionals, including Ms. Kamini Prakash, an Equality and Non Discrimination Officer, and Ms. Sanchita Ghosh, a Knowledge and Learning Officer, based in Delhi. The unit will coordinate WSSCC support to SBM on policy and monitoring guidelines, capacity building and rapid action learning.

In addition, WSSCC’s work through the Global Sanitation Fund-supported programme managed by NRMC India Private Ltd. will include four additional elements: extension of field operations in the States of Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam; support to the Namami Ganga Mission (NGM) within SBM; support to Bihar State on a “District Approach” to collective behaviour change; and facilitation of peer exchanges with neighbouring States in Northern India. Collectively, these additions respond to the Government’s aims to expand and share through successful sanitation programming.

These additional elements build on an already successful GSF programme which, since 2010, has been instrumental working in those three States with high open defecation rates, to establish the modalities for implementing collective behaviour change at scale, an essential pathway to the practical realization of SBM. To date, WSSCC has facilitated open defecation free status for Gram Panchayats in Jharkhand and Bihar. As of July 2015, the GSF programme has empowered 551,000 people to live in open defecation free villages, and 1.4 million people to gain access to improved sanitation in India. “The Swachh Bharat Mission is a call to action for finally ending the practice of open defecation and ensuring equal access to sanitation and hygiene,” says Dr. Chris W. Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC. “We aim to answer that call and work together to solve the serious and deep rooted sanitation challenges for the well-being, prosperity and very survival of India’s 1.2 billion citizens.”

Since 1990, WSSCC has worked closely through its individual members, National Coordinators and partners to support improved access to sanitation and hygiene. In the past five years alone, the Council held the first Global Forum on Sanitation and Hygiene in Mumbai, facilitated innovative sanitation programming through the GSF, and worked with the Government of India and States to transform sanitation policy and practice to include safe menstrual hygiene management with dignity, responding to the demands of hundreds of millions of women whose monthly periods were hitherto linked to pollution and impurity and therefore shame and indignity.

More recently, along with other partners, WSSCC contributed to the design of the SBM to include equity, innovation, rapid action and learning, and sustainability aspects before it was launched in October 2014. In 2015, GOI called upon WSSCC to organize the first ever national workshop to define the verification of open defecation free (ODF) status in India, followed by the first national sharing of innovations, best practices and failures in sanitation and hygiene1. On equity, the Indian example and experience has been leveraged systematically to forge partnerships, innovations and guidelines wider in South Asia and in Africa. Inclusive WASH has also been clearly articulated in regional declarations and hygiene and sanitation proposals for the Sustainable Development Goals. “In a country where pervasive caste and gender inequalities threaten life itself, over 300 million women and girls in India try to squat in a sari, while holding a cup of water to cleanse themselves and keeping an eye out for molesters. Imagine how much more complex and impossible this becomes every month during a woman’s menstrual period!” says Ms. Archana Patkar, Programme Manager, WSSCC. “It is time for the entire development community to unite behind this cause.”

Added Mr. Mishra: “The deleterious impacts of poor sanitation and hygiene on health, productivity and well-being extend well beyond India, which is responsible for 60% of the world’s total open defecation, and is nothing short of a global emergency. WSSCC’s amplified engagement will therefore lead to successes and solutions which will not only tackle the emergency here, but help elsewhere.”


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Water in Brazil Olympic venues dangerously contaminated


Water in Brazil Olympic venues dangerously contaminated


COMMENTSJoin the Discussion

A security guard keeps watch at the entrance to Olympic Park, the primary set of venues being built for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Mario Tama I Getty Images
A security guard keeps watch at the entrance to Olympic Park, the primary set of venues being built for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Athletes competing in next year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be swimming and boating in waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games, an Associated Press investigation has found.

An AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues — results that alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.

It is the first independent comprehensive testing for both viruses and bacteria at the Olympic sites.

Brazilian officials have assured that the water will be safe for the Olympic athletes. But the government does not test for viruses.

Extreme water pollution is common in Brazil, where the majority of sewage is not treated. Raw waste runs through open-air ditches to streams and rivers that feed the Olympic water sites.

As a result, Olympic athletes are almost certain to come into contact with disease-causing viruses that in some tests measured up to 1.7 million times the level of what would be considered hazardous on a Southern California beach.

Despite decades of official pledges to clean up the mess, the stench of raw sewage still greets travelers touching down at Rio’s international airport. Prime beaches are deserted because the surf is thick with putrid sludge, and periodic die-offs leave the Olympic lake, Rodrigo de Freitas, littered with rotting fish.

“What you have there is basically raw sewage,” said John Griffith, a marine biologist at the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Griffith examined the protocols, methodology and results of the AP tests.

“It’s all the water from the toilets and the showers and whatever people put down their sinks, all mixed up, and it’s going out into the beach waters. Those kinds of things would be shut down immediately if found here,” he said, referring to the U.S.

More from the Associated Press:

AP Investigation: Dirty Rio water a threat at 2016 Olympics
5 things to know about Olympians weighing Rio’s filthy water
Human rights groups criticize both 2022 Winter Olympic bids

Vera Oliveira, head of water monitoring for Rio’s municipal environmental secretariat, said officials are not testing viral levels at the Olympic lake, the water quality of which is the city’s responsibility.

The other Olympic water venues are under the control of the Rio state environmental agency.

Leonardo Daemon, coordinator of water quality monitoring for the state’s environmental agency, said officials are strictly following Brazilian regulations on water quality, which are all based on bacteria levels, as are those of almost all nations.

“What would be the standard that should be followed for the quantity of virus? Because the presence or absence of virus in the water … needs to have a standard, a limit,” he said. “You don’t have a standard for the quantity of virus in relation to human health when it comes to contact with water.”

Olympic hopefuls will be diving into Copacabana’s surf this Saturday during a triathlon Olympic qualifier event, while rowers take to the lake’s water beginning Wednesday for the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships. Test events for sailing and marathon swimming take place later in August.

Over 10,000 athletes from 205 nations are expected to compete in next year’s Olympics. Nearly 1,400 of them will be sailing in the waters near Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay, swimming off Copacabana beach, and canoeing and rowing on the brackish waters of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake.

The AP commissioned four rounds of testing in each of those three Olympic water venues, and also in the surf off Ipanema Beach, which is popular with tourists but where no events will be held. Thirty-seven samples were checked for three types of human adenovirus, as well as rotavirus, enterovirus and fecal coliforms.

The AP viral testing, which will continue in the coming year, found not one water venue safe for swimming or boating, according to global water experts.

Instead, the test results found high counts of active and infectious human adenoviruses, which multiply in the intestinal and respiratory tracts of people. These are viruses that are known to cause respiratory and digestive illnesses, including explosive diarrhea and vomiting, but can also lead to more serious heart, brain and other diseases.

The concentrations of the viruses in all tests were roughly equivalent to that seen in raw sewage — even at one of the least-polluted areas tested, the Copacabana Beach, where marathon and triathlon swimming will take place and where many of the expected 350,000 foreign tourists may take a dip.

“Everybody runs the risk of infection in these polluted waters,” said Dr. Carlos Terra, a hepatologist and head of a Rio-based association of doctors specializing in the research and treatment of liver diseases.

Kristina Mena, a U.S. expert in risk assessment for waterborne viruses, examined the AP data and estimated that international athletes at all water venues would have a 99 percent chance of infection if they ingested just three teaspoons of water — though whether a person will fall ill depends on immunity and other factors.

Besides swimmers, athletes in sailing, canoeing and to a lesser degree rowing often get drenched when competing, and breathe in mist as well. Viruses can enter the body through the mouth, eyes, any orifice, or even a small cut.

The Rodrigo de Freitas Lake, which was largely cleaned up in recent years, was thought be safe for rowers and canoers. Yet AP tests found its waters to be among the most polluted for Olympic sites, with results ranging from 14 million adenoviruses per liter on the low end to 1.7 billion per liter at the high end.

By comparison, water quality experts who monitor beaches in Southern California become alarmed if they see viral counts reaching 1,000 per liter.

“If I were going to be in the Olympics,” said Griffith, the California water expert, “I would probably go early and get exposed and build up my immunity system to these viruses before I had to compete, because I don’t see how they’re going to solve this sewage problem.”

A ‘huge risk’ for athletes

Ivan Bulaja, the Croatian-born coach of Austria’s 49er-class sailing team, has seen it firsthand. His sailors have lost valuable training days after falling ill with vomiting and diarrhea.

“This is by far the worst water quality we’ve ever seen in our sailing careers,” said Bulaja.

Training earlier this month in Guanabara Bay, Austrian sailor David Hussl said he and his teammates take precautions, washing their faces immediately with bottled water when they get splashed by waves and showering the minute they return to shore. And yet Hussl said he’s fallen ill several times.

Read MoreJapan (literally) opens its doors ahead of Olympics

“I’ve had high temperatures and problems with my stomach,” he said. “It’s always one day completely in bed and then usually not sailing for two or three days.”

It is a huge risk for the athletes, the coach said.

“The Olympic medal is something that you live your life for,” Bulaja said, “and it can really happen that just a few days before the competition you get ill and you’re not able to perform at all.”

Dr. Alberto Chebabo, who heads Rio’s Infectious Diseases Society, said the raw sewage has led to “endemic” public health woes among Brazilians, primarily infectious diarrhea in children.

By adolescence, he said, people in Rio have been so exposed to the viruses they build up antibodies. But foreign athletes and tourists won’t have that protection.

“Somebody who hasn’t been exposed to this lack of sanitation and goes to a polluted beach obviously has a much higher risk of getting infected,” Chebabo said.

An estimated 60 percent of Brazilian adults have been exposed to hepatitis A, said Terra, the Rio hepatologist. Doctors urge foreigners heading to Rio, whether athletes or tourists, to be vaccinated against hepatitis A. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends travelers to Brazil get vaccinated for typhoid.

Under a microscope

The AP commissioned Fernando Spilki, a virologist and coordinator of the environmental quality program at Feevale University in southern Brazil, to conduct the water tests.

Spilki’s testing looked for three different types of human adenovirus that are typical “markers” of human sewage in Brazil. In addition, he tested for enteroviruses, the most common cause of upper respiratory tract infections in the young. He also searched for signs of rotavirus, the main cause of gastroenteritis globally.

The tests so far show that Rio’s waters “are chronically contaminated,” he said. “The quantity of fecal matter entering the waterbodies in Brazil is extremely high. Unfortunately, we have levels comparable to some African nations, to India.”

Griffith, the California expert, said the real concern isn’t for what Spilki actually measured, noting that “there are very likely to be nastier bugs in there that weren’t searched for and that are out there lurking.”

There is no lack of illness in Rio, but there is a severe shortage of health data related to dirty water, medical experts said.

The maladies often hit people hard, but most don’t go see a doctor, so no data is collected.

Globally, however, rotavirus accounts for about 2 million hospitalizations and over 450,000 deaths of children worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization.

The AP testing found rotavirus on three separate occasions at Olympic sites — twice at the lake and once at a beach next to the Marina da Gloria, where sailors are expected to launch their boats.

Mena, an associate professor of public health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and an expert in water quality, conducted what she called a “conservative” risk assessment for Olympic athletes participating in water sports in Rio, assuming they would ingest 16 milliliters of water, or three teaspoons — far less than athletes themselves say they take in.

She found “an infection risk of 99 percent,” she said.

Read MoreHawaii’s bleaching problem: How warming waters threaten coral

“Given those viral concentration levels, do I think somebody should be exposed to those amounts? The answer is no.”

The AP also measured fecal coliform bacteria, single-celled organisms that live in the intestines of humans and animals. Fecal coliforms can suggest the presence of cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid.

In 75 percent of the samples taken at the Olympic lake, the number of fecal coliforms exceeded Brazil’s legal limit for “secondary contact,” such as boating or rowing — in two samples spiking to over 10 times the accepted level. The Marina da Gloria venue exceeded the limit only once, while at Rio’s most popular tourist beach, Ipanema, fecal coliforms tested at three times the acceptable level in a single sample. At Copacabana, the AP tests found no violations of fecal coliform counts.

Fecal coliforms have long been used by most governments as a marker to determine whether bodies of water are polluted because they are relatively easy and cheap to test and find. Brazil uses only bacterial testing when determining water quality.

In Rio, the fecal coliform levels were not as astronomical as the viral numbers the AP found. That gap is at the heart of a global debate among water experts, many of whom are pushing governments to adopt viral as well as bacterial testing to determine if recreational waters are safe.

That’s because fecal coliform bacteria from sewage can survive only a short time in water, especially in the salty and sunny conditions around Rio. Human adenoviruses have been shown to last several months, with some studies even indicating they can last years.

That means that even if Rio magically collected and treated all its sewage tomorrow, its waters would stay polluted for a long time.

‘A wasted opportunity’

In its Olympic bid, Rio officials vowed the games would “regenerate Rio’s magnificent waterways” through a $4 billion government expansion of basic sanitation infrastructure.

It was the latest in a long line of promises that have already cost Brazilian taxpayers more than $1 billion — with very little to show for it.

Rio’s historic sewage problem spiraled over the past decades as the population exploded, with many of the metropolitan area’s 12 million residents settling in the vast hillside slums that ring the bay.

Waste flows into more than 50 streams that empty into the once-crystalline Guanabara Bay. An eye-watering stench emanates from much of the bay and its palm-lined beaches, which were popular swimming spots as late as the 1970s but are now perpetually off-limits for swimmers.

Tons of household trash — margarine tubes, deflated soccer balls, waterlogged couches and washing machines — line the shore and form islands of refuse.

Starting in 1993, Japan’s international cooperation agency poured hundreds of millions of dollars into a Guanabara cleanup project. The Inter-American Development Bank issued $452 million in loans for more works.

Read MoreWater scarcity is becoming a business problem

A culture of mismanagement stymied any progress. For years, none of four sewage treatment plants built with the Japanese funds operated at full capacity. One of the plants in the gritty Duque de Caxias neighborhood didn’t treat a drop of waste from its construction in 2000 through its inauguration in 2014. For 14 years, it wasn’t connected to the sewage mains.

By then, the Japanese agency rated the project as “unsatisfactory,” with “no significant improvements in the water quality of the bay.”

As part of its Olympic project, Brazil promised to build eight treatment facilities to filter out much of the sewage and prevent tons of household trash from flowing into the Guanabara Bay. Only one has been built.

The fluorescent green lagoons that hug the Olympic Park and which the government’s own data shows are among the most polluted waters in Rio were to be dredged, but the project got hung up in bureaucratic hurdles and has yet to start.

“Brazilian authorities promised the moon in order to win their Olympic bid and as usual they’re not making good on those promises,” said Mario Moscatelli, a biologist who has spent 20 years lobbying for a cleanup of Rio’s waterways. “I’m sad but not surprised.”

As the clock ticks down, local officials have dialed back their promises. Rio Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao has acknowledged “there’s not going to be time” to finish the cleanup of the bay ahead of the games.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes has said it’s a “shame” the Olympic promises wouldn’t be met, adding the games are proving “a wasted opportunity” as far as the waterways are concerned.

But the Rio Olympic organizing committee’s website still states that a key legacy of the games will be “the rehabilitation and protection of the area’s environment, particularly its bays and canals” in areas where water sports will take place.





Kenya Water Profiling

Water profile of Kenya

December 22, 2008, 3:06 pm

Source: FAO


Geography, Climate, and Population

The Republic of Kenya is situated on the East African coast on the equator. It is bordered by [[Ethiopia] and Sudan to the north, the Indian Ocean and Somalia to the east, the United Republic of Tanzania to the south, and Uganda and Lake Victoria to the west. The total area of the country is 580,370 squarekilometers (km2). For administrative purposes the country is subdivided into 8 provinces and 70 districts. The altitude varies from sea level to the peak of Mt. Kenya, situated north of the capital Nairobi, which is 5,199 meters (m) above sea level.

The soil types in the country vary from place to place due to topography, the amount of rainfall and the parent material. The soils in western parts of the country are mainly acrisols, cambisols, and their mixtures, highly weathered and leached with accumulations of iron and aluminum oxides. The soils in central Kenya and the highlands are mainly the nitosols and andosols, which are young and of volcanicorigin. The soils in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) include the vertisols, gleysols, and phaeozems and are characterized with pockets of sodicity and salinity, low fertility, and vulnerability to erosion. Coastal soils are coarse textured and low in organic matter and the common types are the arenosols, luvisols, and acrisols. Widespread soil salinity, which has adversely influenced irrigation development, is found in isolated pockets around the Lake Baringo basin in the Rift Valley and in the Tavetta division in the coastal provinces.

captionMap of Kenya. (Source: FAO)

The average annual rainfall is 630 millimeters (mm) with a variation from less than 200 mm in northern Kenya to over 1,800 mm on the slopes of Mt. Kenya. The rainfall distribution pattern is bimodal with long rains falling from March to June and short rains from October to November for most parts of the country. The climate is influenced by the inter-tropical convergence zone and relief and ranges from permanent snow above 4,600 meters on Mt. Kenya to true desert type in the Chalbi desert in the Marsabit district in the north of the country. About 80% of the country is arid and semi-arid, while 17% is considered to be high potentialagricultural land, sustaining 75% of the population. The forest cover is about 3% of the total land area.

The country has six major agro-ecological zones: Upper highland (UH), Lower highland (LH), Upper midland (UM), Lower midland (LM), Lowland (L), and Coast Lowlands (CL). These zones are associated with corresponding temperaturevariations ranging from freezing to 40°C. The Penman estimate of annual evaporation from open water surfaces in Kenya varies from 1,000 mm in the central highlands to 2,600 mm in the arid north.

The agricultural land covers about 33% of the country and is classified as:

  • High potential land receiving more than 850 mm of annual rainfall and covering 67,850 km2
  • Medium potential land receiving between 730 and 850 mm and covering 31,570 km2
  • Low potential land receiving less than 610 mm and covering 42,050 km2
  • Others covering 48,670 km2
captionTable 1: Basic statistics and population. (Source: FAO)

The high and the medium potential land is considered cultivable, covering an area of 99,420 km2 or almost 10 million hectares (ha).

Total population is 32.4 million (2004), of which 59% lives in rural areas (Table 1). The average population density is 56 inhabitants/km2, but its distribution is highly influenced by the climate and the agro-ecological zone. The highest density of 406 per km2 is found in the Western province, followed by 350 per km2 in Nyanza, 282 per km2 in Central and only 30 per km2 in the Eastern and Coast provinces. For 2002 thepopulation growth rate was estimated at 1.8% per annum. Life expectancy had increased up to 60 years by 1993 but dropped to 45 years by the year 2002 due to the high incidence of HIV/AIDS.

The overall poverty level was estimated at about 53% in 1997. Improved water sources are accessible for 62% of the population, ranging from 89% in urban areas to 46% in rural areas (Table 1). Improved sanitation facilities are used by 56% of the population in urban areas and by 43% in rural areas, while the average over the whole country is 48%.

Economy, Agriculture, and Food Security

Agriculture is the main sector of Kenya’s economy and its performance greatly influences the overall economical performance of the country. In 2003, the gross domestic product (GDP) was US$13.8 billion (current $) with an annual growth rate of 1%, and agriculture contributed 16.6% to the GDP. About 53% of the total population is economically active and approximately 74% of the economically active population is employed in agriculture. About 80% of all people working in agriculture are smallholders.

The country has a food deficit and the food supply is insecure as a result of periodic droughts and low access to production resources. In the arid and semi-arid areas, about 2 million people are permanently on famine relief and the number sometimes rises to 5 million during droughts.

Cultivated area was about 5.2 million ha in 2002, of which 4.6 million ha was arable land and 0.6 million ha had permanent crops (Table 1). Despite the fact that 80% of the country is arid and semi-arid,agriculture in Kenya is dominantly rainfed with an estimated 3.12 million ha being put under food crops in 1998. The food crops are maize, wheat, sorghum, millets, cassava, Irish and sweet potatoes, bananas, fruits, and vegetables. About 1.5 million hectares were under maize, which is the primary food for the majority of the population. During the same period, an estimated 500,000 hectares were under industrial crops. Production and income from export crops, such as coffee, tea, pyrethrum, horticultural crops and cotton, contribute to food security. The main agricultural imports are wheat, rice, animal and vegetable oils and sometimes maize and sugar in times of shortage. Livestock production plays a major role in food security and in the economy of the country since it sustains the livelihood of the population living in the arid and semi-arid areas.

Water Resources and Use

The National Development Plan 2002-2008 recognizes Kenya as a water scarce country whereby the water demand exceeds renewable freshwater sources. It is also clear from the National Water Master Plan of 1992 that out of 164 sub-basins with perennial river flows, 90 will suffer from surface water deficit by 2010 while already 33 sub-basins without perennial river flow have an apparent water shortage.

Water Resources

There are five main drainage areas in the country:

  • Lake Victoria, covering 8.0% of the country
  • Rift valley and inland lakes, covering 22.5% of the country
  • Athi River and coast, covering 11.5% of the country
  • Tana River, covering 21.7% of the country
  • Ewaso Ng’iro, covering 36.3% of the country
captionTable 2: Water: sources and uses. (Source: FAO)

The water distribution in the drainage basins is both skewed and uneven with, for example, 282,600 m3/km2 in Lake Victoria basin and 21,300 m3/km2 in the Athi and Coast catchments.

There are six hydro-geological formations, which influence the distribution and availability of the groundwater resources: Eastern quaternary sediment areas; Bed rock areas; Western quaternary areas;Volcanic rock areas in the Rift valley; Volcanic areas outside the Rift valley; Older sedimentary areas.

The internal renewable surface water resources are estimated at 20.2 km3/year, while about 3.5 km3 ofgroundwater is produced annually, of which the main part (3 km3/year) is considered to overlap with the surface water resources (Table 2). It is estimated that 10 km3/year of water enters the country via transboundary rivers. The volcanic and quaternary geological formations are rich in groundwater. The annual safe abstraction yield of groundwater is estimated at 0.6 km3, out of which 0.4 km3 is the estimated yield from shallow wells while the remaining balance of 0.2 km3 is estimated to come from boreholes.

The total capacity of large and medium dams (> 15 m) is about 4.1 km3. In order to augment water supply, 1,782 small dams and 669 water pans have been constructed. There are 9 lakes with a surface area of 10,747 km2. Most of the lakes are saline with the exception of Victoria, Naivasha, and Baringo. The lakes Nakuru and Naivasha have been declared Ramsar sites as wetlands of international importance for conservation of biodiversity.

There is limited seawater desalinization mainly for the hotels along the coast.

Water Use

captionFigure 1: Water withdrawal. (Source:FAO)

The total water withdrawal is estimated to be over 2.7 km3 (Table 2 and Figure 1). The water demand is projected to increase to 5.8 km3 by the year 2010. Agriculture is the main user of water and currently consumes about 80%, while domestic and commercial use accounts for the rest. There are a total of 1,800 domestic water supply schemes, out of which 700 are managed by the Ministry of Water Resource Management and Development while the communities manage the rest. There are 9,000 boreholes, most of which require rehabilitation.

As a result of the skewed water distribution between the basins and within the basins, water use conflicts among irrigation, livestock, wildlife, and environmental conservation is quite common in the Ewaso Ng’iro north, in the upper catchments of the Tana basin and the Athi basins.

International Water Issues

Kenya shares a number of rivers with other countries:

  • The Umba, Mara, and Pangani basins are shared with the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • The Sio, Malaba, and Malakisi basins are shared with Uganda.
  • The Omo and Daua basins are shared with Ethiopia.
  • The Nile basin is shared with nine other countries.

Currently, there is no existing framework between the countries for the utilization and management of the shared water resources.

Irrigation and Drainage Development

Evolution of Irrigation Development

The irrigation potential of Kenya has been estimated at 539,000 ha and is distributed over the basins as follows:

  • 200,000 ha in the Lake Victoria (Nile) basin
  • 64,000 ha in the Kerio Valley (Rift Valley) basin
  • 205,000 ha in the Tana basin
  • 40,000 ha in the Athi basin
  • 30,000 ha in the Ewaso Ngiro (Shebelle-Juba) basin
captionTable 3: Irrigation and drainage. (Source: FAO)

Irrigation development in Kenya has a long history since there are records indicating that there were irrigation systems in the 16th century along the coast and the Kerio valley (Marakwet escarpment). The system was so elaborate that a traditional water management system had evolved that maintained canals exceeding 15 km, and water transfers from basin to basin along rugged terrains with technologies that puzzle the present-day engineer. The traditional water management system also allocated water between different clans and the water rotation among the different users could vary from year to year.

Other periods of irrigation development were the result of the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway and the first and second World Wars, when irrigation schemes supplied for example vegetables to workers and soldiers. The remnants of these systems are still found in the Mt. Kenya, Tavetta, Kibwezi, and Lake Victoria regions whereby the communities have developed a tradition of water management. The above-mentioned pockets of development have greatly influenced the present day pattern and distribution of irrigation development in the country.

captionTable 4: Areas equipped for full/partial control irrigation and type of irrigation by province (2003). (Source: FAO)

The only deviation is the development of minor irrigation schemes through the FAO and other development agencies in the arid and semi-arid lands, mainly as food security schemes in the famine stricken Kerio/Turkwel and Ewaso Ng’iro basins in the 1960s that have further influenced the pattern of development. A few centrally managed government settlement schemes have been established through the irrigation act of 1966, but they are currently experiencing a lot of institutional and management problems.

The total water managed area in 2003 was about 110,000 ha, of which 103,203 ha (94%) was under full control (Table 3). The remaining 6% are cultivated wetlands and inland valley bottoms. Of the areas under full control, 60% were irrigated by sprinklers and 38% by surface irrigation (Table 4 and Figure 2).

captionFigure 2: Irrigation techniques. (Source: FAO)

A comparison of the figures for 2003 in the previous table with the corresponding figures of the first half of the 1990s shows that surface irrigated areas have declined from about 44,610 ha to 39,217 ha, while areas irrigated by sprinklers have increased from about 21,000 ha to 61,986 ha.

There are three major types of irrigation schemes in Kenya (Table 5):

  • Smallholder schemes
  • Commercial/Private schemes
  • Schemes of the National Irrigation Board

Currently irrigation development is led by the private sector and by smallholder irrigation schemes with great emphasis on sustainable development. The private sector has also spearheaded irrigation development in areas close to urban centers for local vegetables and high value horticultural produce for the export market.

captionTable 5: Areas of irrigation schemes in different years. (Source: FAO)

The reasons for considerable areas of the public schemes being non-operational are, for example, differing opinions between the National Irrigation Board (NIB) and the farmers about the management and running of the schemes or failure of pumping units. As can be seen from the previous table, there has been almost no expansion within the public sub-sector. The areas for each scheme type in each province are given in Table 6.

The funding of irrigation development is in transition as the emphasis has shifted from government-led development to participatory and community-driven development. As a result of the change of approach and policy, irrigation development has been categorized so that schemes in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) have to be developed through grants, with the beneficiaries providing contribution in terms of unskilled labor and local materials. Community-based market-oriented irrigation schemes are currently developed through cost-sharing rather than full cost recovery on infrastructure. Full cost recovery approach has been discontinued because it has been found to be a hindrance to irrigation development especially where major infrastructure is involved. In both cases operation and maintenance are the responsibility of the community.

captionTable 6: Irrigated areas by scheme type (2003). (Source: FAO)

Some of the ongoing programs are:

  • The Central Kenya Agricultural Development Project is funded by IFAD and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture. The project is concentrated in the dry parts of the province. The irrigation component is scaled down to kitchen gardens.
  • The Eastern Province Horticulture and Traditional Food Crops Project, funded by IFAD and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, is promoting the production and use of traditional food crops such as cassava, millets, sorghum, and sweet potatoes and also involves crop processing. The project also involves the development of irrigation schemes through cost-sharing, whereby the farmers are advanced with credit for the development of the infrastructure. The project is also promoting the marketing of horticultural crops.
  • The Mini-Project, implemented by IDB and funded by JICA, is meant to build the capacity for the development of smallholder irrigation. It has three components: review of the guidelines for smallholder irrigation development, preparation of a farmers’ organization framework and human resources development.
  • The Arid Land Resource Management Program, dealing mainly with ASAL areas, is an integrated program aimed at improving the living conditions of the people in arid and semi-arid areas. As far as irrigation is concerned, the program has been providing irrigation equipment on grant and this has led to the rapid increase in irrigated areas in North Eastern Province in the last decade. The program relies on the staff of the relevant government departments to implement the project.
  • World Vision Kenya is focusing on the rehabilitation and development of irrigation schemes in the Turkana district to improve food security. The funding of the project is through grants.

Spate irrigation was tried in the Turkana district in the late 1980s, aimed at producing pastures for the pastoral communities. This was done through huge temporary brushwood diversion weirs with graded canals to facilitate the overtopping and even spread of the water. The systems, although productive, were not sustainable since they had been constructed through food for work programs with little community ownership. The same principles are being applied in the Mwingi district as gully harnessing and manipulation for crop production purposes.

Rainwater harvesting is also becoming a common practice for the medium and low potential areas of the country through the construction of individual water pans and the diversion of roadside runoff, to improve food security, as is the case of the Lare division of the Nakuru district. Flood recession agriculture is widespread along the lower parts of the river Tana, where the Pokomo and the Malakote tribes exploit the seasonal flooding of the Tana for the production of bananas and other food crops.

A major limitation to this sort of development is the direct utilization of water resources without storage facilities, which has resulted in serious competition among the users especially in the Ewaso Ng’iro basin and the upper part of the Tana and Athi catchments. A point has been reached where all the easily exploitable water sources have been developed with the available technologies and future development will entail both expensive and advanced technology. An emphasis on social infrastructure and the formation of water users’ associations has been crucial in order to transfer the operation and maintenance of irrigation systems to the communities. In most irrigation schemes the communities are responsible for making all decisions in relation to water use, crop production calendars, and marketing the produce.

Role of Irrigation in Agricultural Production, the Economy, and Society

captionFigure 3: Main irrigated crops in 2003. (Source: FAO)

It has already been pointed out above that agriculture in Kenya is mainly rainfed. Only 103,203 ha of the approximately 3 million ha put under food crops are equipped for irrigation, which is about 3.5%. The main irrigated crops are vegetables, rice, and coffee. Citrus, maize, cotton, and some bananas are irrigated as well (Table 3 and Figure 3).

The cost of irrigation development varies depending on the terrain, water source, conveyance system, and the length of the mainline to the irrigated area. The sum of material and construction costs ranges from US$500 to US$1,500/ha for gravity-fed surface irrigation and US$1,500 to US$4,000/ha for piped/sprinkler systems. The cost of the latter includes headworks, conveyance, and on-farm infrastructure. The operation and maintenance costs are estimated at 3.5% of the project cost.

Status and Evolution of Drainage Systems

The water development master plans estimate the drainage potential to be in the order of 600,000 ha, involving flood control works as well as irrigation of the drained areas. So far, 5% (30,000 ha) of the drainage potential has been developed. The realization of the full potential is however subject to water resource development through construction of storage facilities and major river diversion works which are beyond the capability of the farmers.

Water Management, Policies, and Legislation Related to Water Use in Agriculture

Overall responsibility for water management lies with the Ministry of Water Resources Management and Development (MWRMD), granted through the Water Act 2002. The ministry’s current policy (1999) focuses on decentralization, privatization, commercialization, and stakeholder participation. The Water Act 2002 has provided the formation of a Water Resources Management Authority, responsible for water pollution, and the management of lakes, aquifers, and rivers, and the establishment of a Water Services Regulatory Board, responsible for water supply through licensed water services providers.

Irrigation development in Kenya is under a number of institutions, including both the public and private sector. The National Irrigation Board (NIB), mandated with the development of the national irrigation schemes, and the Irrigation and Drainage Department (IDD), responsible for the promotion of smallholder irrigation with a wide network across the country, are under MWRMD with effect from July 2003. The River Basin Development Authorities (RBDA), with the responsibility of the planning and use of the water and land resources within their jurisdiction, are under the Ministry of Regional Development. Besides these main government institutions, there are a number of non-governmental organizations that support irrigation development.

Irrespective of the institution involved in development, the formation of water users associations (WUA) has been promoted in order to ensure sustainability of the schemes. Most of the structures and water rights for each scheme belong to the irrigating community. Water management within the smallholder irrigation schemes is the responsibility of the WUAs.

The policies and legislation for water management in agriculture are inadequate, which is exemplified by the fact that the only existing legal framework is the irrigation act of 1966 for the establishment of the NIB and management of tenant-based irrigation schemes. A national irrigation policy and legal framework are under formulation in order to comprehensively coordinate and regulate the irrigation sub-sector.

In the absence of an irrigation policy, the Ministry of Agriculture, and later the Ministry of Water Resources Management and Development, has developed guidelines for the development, operation and management of smallholder farmer-managed schemes. The IDD has developed some guidelines and manuals to direct the development of smallholder irrigation and the process of community participation for sustainable development.

Water is allocated by water apportionment boards that process water permits for various users depending on the available water source. The water fees and the duration of the permit are based on the category of use. The permit for irrigation water has to be renewed after 5 years and the permit fees are based on the surface area to be irrigated. The permit holder should only use the flood flow for irrigation and will construct a reservoir to store enough water to irrigate the area specified in the permit for 90 days. These two conditions are rarely adhered to since irrigation is most required during the dry season and the cost for constructing a storage reservoir is beyond the means of most farmers.

Environment and Health

Water use and its effect on the environment is being taken into due consideration as 30% of the flow at any point of abstraction has to be reserved for river maintenance and environment.

Salinity as result of irrigation is not widespread, except in the areas mentioned earlier where it is a result of already existing soil salinity. A case of environmental concern was experienced in the traditional irrigation area of Ngurumani, where waterlogging and swamp development was threatening the long-termsustainability of the irrigation in the area. An area of conflict exists between the wildlife and irrigation schemes, since the latter are situated in ASAL where there is also a concentration of wildlife areas.

The National Environmental Management and Coordinating Act (EMCA) No.8 of 1999 is in place to take care of the environmental impact of development and the government has established the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to enforce it. The act makes it mandatory to conduct anenvironmental impact assessment before the implementation of a project such as large-scale agriculture, use of pesticides, introduction of new animals and plants, use of fertilizers and irrigation development.

Incidences of malaria and bilharzia are common in irrigated areas.

Perspectives for Agricultural Water Management

Irrigation, drainage, and water use for agriculture is hampered by the lack of a national irrigation policy and plan, which leads to haphazard irrigation development with limited coordination among the various institutions. This is further exacerbated by the evidently inequitable spatial and temporal water distribution within the country. To tackle these problems, a Draft Irrigation Policy was prepared in 2001 and a Draft Irrigation Strategic Plan covering 2003 to 2008 is under preparation.

The National Development Plan and the National Water Master Plans have emphasized the importance of water resource development if the country is to meet its future water demand, which is estimated to reach 5.8 km3 per year by 2010. This will require the construction of more storage reservoirs.


Further Reading

  • Water profile of Kenya, Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • World Factbook: Kenya, Central Intelligence Agency.
  • Euroconsult/Delft Hydraulics Laboratory/Royal Tropical Institute. 1987. Study on options and investment priorities in irrigation development.
  • Hide, J.M. and Kimani, J. 2000. Informal irrigation in the peri-urban zone of Nairobi, Kenya. HR Wallingford. Wallingford, UK.
  • Jaetzold, R., and Schmidt, H. 1983. Farm management handbook of Kenya. Atlas of the agro-ecological zones of Kenya. Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with German Agency of Technical Cooperation. Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Ministry of Agriculture/Irrigation and Drainage Branch. 1990. Atlas of irrigation and drainage in Kenya.
  • Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. 2002. Country Strategy on Integrated Water Resources Management.
  • Ministry of Finance. 2002. The Ninth National Development Plan (2002-2008).
  • Ministry of Water Development. 1992. The Study on the National Water Master Plan. Prepared with the assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
  • Ministry of Water Development. Undated. Ground water resources of Kenya (Reconnaissance study). Master planning section.
  • Ministry of Water Resource Management and Development. 2003. Draft Irrigation Strategic Plan 2003-2008. Irrigation and Drainage Branch.
  • Ministry of Water Resource Management and Development. Undated. Guidelines for the development, operation and management of smallholder farmer-managed schemes. Irrigation and Drainage Branch.
  • Mutunga, K., Critchley, W., Lwakuba, A. and Mburu, C.N. 2001. Farmer’s initiatives in land husbandry. Promising technologies for drier areas of East Africa. Technical Report No. 27.

Disclaimer: This article is taken wholly from, or contains information that was originally published by, the Food and Agriculture Organization. Topic editors and authors for the Encyclopedia of Earth may have edited its content or added new information. The use of information from the Food and Agriculture Organization should not be construed as support for or endorsement by that organization for any new information added by EoE personnel, or for any editing of the original content.


(2008). Water profile of Kenya. Retrieved from

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