WRA as the Lead Agency in water resources management is mandated by the Water Act 2002 Section 8(1), among other tasks to: regulate and protect water resources from adverse impacts; manage and protect water catchments; liaise with stakeholders for the better regulation and management of water resources. The Authority has made this possible through various Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approaches, which involve multi-faceted interventions to address the myriad of issues and challenges in water resources. The Authority has been working closely with the various stakeholder groups including Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs), Private Sector, County Governments, NGOs, Academia and Public Sector Agencies
In a bid to rehabilitate, restore and sustainably manage water resources within the Athi River basin, which includes Nairobi River and its tributaries, WRMA developed the Athi River Restoration Programme (ARRP) which is a capital project planned to be implemented in five years at an estimated cost of Kenya Shillings 2.5 billion.
Following the strategic importance of Nairobi River Basin, WRMA intends to spearhead the rehabilitation and restoration efforts of Nairobi River in the same vein as the Athi River Restoration programme. Accordingly, WRMA in collaboration with the Ministry will endeavor to mobilize the needed resources towards the implementation of this programme. In this regard, the Ministry requested expert assistance from the US Government for this important initiative. The US Water Partnership has already committed to support by engaging two consultants to work with the Government of Kenya.
The Nairobi River Basin comprises of 3 main rivers: Ngong, Nairobi and Mathare. The rivers join east of Nairobi and meet River Athi, eventually flowing to the Indian Ocean. Other tributaries of Nairobi River Basin include; Kamiti river (Gathara-ini), Rui Ruaka, Karura Ruiru and Kirichwa.
The rivers are mostly narrow and highly polluted. Currently about 56 percent of the city residents live in 46 highly congested informal and middle class settlements mainly located along the Nairobi River banks. The Rivers are polluted with uncollected garbage; human waste from informal settlements; industrial wastes in the form of gaseous emissions, liquid effluents, agro-chemicals, petro-chemicals, metals and over-flowing sewers.
The most worrying trend is the industrial and medical waste harboring toxic chemicals and heavy metals that end up in the Indian Ocean. The domestic and international tourism sectors are not spared with visitors getting harboring concerns about the safety of their favorite sea foods.
The Authority intends to carry out the following interventions in a bid to rehabilitate the Nairobi River:
- Convening of a meeting to deliberate on following issues:
- Presentation and Discussions on the NRRP
- Formation of Task Teams (TTs) to address the various subprograms and concretize actions for the following task areas, among others
- Development of comprehensive Integrated solid waste management system for riparian communities
- Identification of options and defining estimated costs for repairing and installing sewerage and associated infrastructure
- Development of a Master Plan for economic and residential uses of riparian zone, in concert with local stakeholders, communities and the private sector
- Identification of Water Quality improvement and Pollution Control interventions to address the following challenges:
- Pollution from agrochemicals (fertilizers and pesticide residues from farm lands)
- Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company’s sewerage treatment facilities (Dandora, and Kariobangi discharging into Nairobi River and Kahawa west ponds discharging into Kiu River
- Kiambu Water and Sewerage Company’s sewerage treatment facility discharging into Riara River
- Identification of Conservation initiatives to address the following challenges:
- Soil erosion from overgrazed land, degraded catchments and infrastructural developments e.g road networks
- Unmanaged storm waters from urban centers
- Wetland and riparian restoration
- River training and bank protection
- Development of ToRs for the Task Teams
- Seeking commitments from those in attendance in terms of supporting the programme – receiving proposals and pledges in support of the program
- Formation of a Secretariat to coordinate the program
- Holding a Workshop to:
- Receive and discuss work plans and budgets from the Task Teams
- Prepare a combined work plan and budget for the programme activities
- Prepare work schedules
- Launch of the Nairobi River Basin Restoration and Rehabilitation Programme:
- Presentation of the programme
- Presentation of the work plan and budget
- Inauguration of the programme