Impact of climate change on water resources in Kaloleni, Kilifi county, Kenya

a field report of Ms. Louisa Chinyavu Mwenda (CIPSEM alumna, SC68)

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In most of the rural parts of Kenya including the coastal interior, few know of the term climate change. However, impacts have been felt far and wide, with many left with lingering questions on their minds. Drought is the most worrying issue that the communities in Kilifi county face. In recent years, the weather patterns have been predictable, but in 2016 it was different. It is evident that the harsh impacts of climate change have affected water resources and in turn affecting food security, and other sectors including health and education. In mid October 2016, just a few weeks after completing the SC 68 Integrated Water Resources Management and Health short course, I set out to find out more on the impacts of climate change on water resources in Kaloleni, Kilifi County with the aim of gathering sufficient information on the situation which can aid in future interventions. I interviewed some of the residents in Kaloleni, Kilifi county, and this is what some of them had to say:

Dama Kahindhi

I find Dama an elderly woman with five other ladies surrounding a well known as Mwabanda, in Zizimo village, Kilifi County, catching up while fetching water. Mwabanda is a well, which has been the source of water for the villagers for almost three years. In Swahili, she informs me that the water is undrinkable and is dirty because sediments flow in especially from harsh winds. I spot a number of frogs in the water. She also admits that sometimes the quality of the water affects health especially in young children who are vulnerable to disease. She tells me that she in normally at the pond thrice in a day and sometimes even five times. As Dama speaks, a woman balancing on her head a jerrican full of water, commonly known as a ‘kia’ interjects informing me that there is no rain and the maize crop has failed due to the severe drought. As a parting shot, Dama tells me “the drought is so severe that even men now days have to join us to fetch water”.

Glory

She is a young girl probably not a teenager.  She trembles on spotting the camera and is afraid to answer any questions; however she does answer a few in low tones. She goes to school but today she is not in class because she has to fetch water. She barely makes any eye contact but informs me the pond is called Kwa Kagogo. She then continues to fill in her jerrican with water, under the scorching sun.

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Clemence Mjeni

Clemence is a middle aged woman who informs me that the river Bemkambe, in Bemkambe village Kilifi County, has been dry for about five years now. She points towards the path where the river meandered previously which is now a bed of rocks and sand. ‘In previous years, the rains would start in March and continue till May. However this year, there was no rain at all. Our maize and rice crop failed due to drought’. She also mentions that she heard that the country would experience El Niño, but was also worried that when the rains are in excess, the coconut trees in her farm would fall because the roots become saturated with water. However she says that she is still waiting for the El Niño, because it will bring hope.

 

Samson Chome

‘Tangu El Nino ya 1997, hakuna mvua ya maana…’ which means that there has been no significant rain since the 1997 ElNino, claims Mr. Chome, who is a resident of Chanagande, Kilifi county. He is appalled by the weather pattern changes, and claims that people and livestock have died due to drought. The 60 year old man informs me that this village, Kagombani, which means ‘banana plant’, was characterized by banana plantations when he was in his youth. He counts and points three frail banana plants on his farm, which is the current situation in most parts of the village. Mr. Chome is chatty, and goes ahead to say that he is from searching for pasture for his one lactating cow but he insists that he needs a borehole to sustain his cow and calf and also his family; because the ponds that he was relying on are also drying up and the soils are no longer fertile.

Naomi Kenga

She is commonly referred to as Hawe Dena in Kaloleni area, Kilifi County. Hawe Dena is 87 years old but is strong and very knowledgeable, clearly from the many years of experience. She informs me of how the weather patterns have drastically changed affecting the water supply in the area. She has a subsistence farm, which she plants various crops, but complains that it is very tiring to carry water to the farm. ‘Mwaka huu mahindi hayakukuwa kwa sababu ya ukosefu wa mvua,” she says, meaning that this year the maize did not thrive because of lack of water. She tells us that her farm is rain-fed and so when it does not rain she is severely affected. The soil beneath my feet is very hot. She also tells me that she has a well constructed in her ‘shamba’ and she takes me on a tour around the farm and to the well, however the well depends on rain water and is currently dry. She also takes the opportunity to request for any intervention that could make the situation better.

Other than the impacts on the land and on water and agricultural resources, other effects can be seen such as the receding coastline. Boats are spotted stuck in sand in need of evacuation. Therefore it is necessary to find both short and long term solutions towards adaptation and mitigation strategies towards climate change. How is climate change affecting you? What can you do about the impacts?  What can you do about climate change?

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Excursion to the German Environment Agency (UBA)

Our CIPSEM journey continued from 18th to 19th of May 2016 in the city of Dessau. The visit to the German Environment Agency (UBA) began with an introduction and welcome speech by Mr. Ralph Wollmann, who gave background information about the history of the German Environment Agency and explained its participation and contribution to CIPSEM courses. Furthermore Mr. Wollmann talked about the role of UBA in the german society and the international community.

Following up were interactive sessions on several topics from the manifold portfolio of the agency. Among others there were talks on water resources management and climate change adaptation in Germany, transboundary movement of waste, environmental risk regulation of pesticides, green economy and much more.

The stay in Dessau was furthermore accompanied guided tours through the price winning main building of UBA and the world famous Bauhaus.

Report and photographs by Hisham Abdelgawad (Egypt)

200 years of forest science in Tharandt

What are the main threats to soil functioning? What are the causes of soil degradation and salinization? What are the impacts of land use change and climate variability on watershed hydrology? What do you know about REDD+ in detail? What is the relationship between forests conservation and climate change mitigation? And how are the relations with developing countries towards those topics?

These questions and more where discussed by a group of outstanding researchers and scientists in Tharandt; the second eldest forestry faculty in the world since 1811.In addition; back at CIPSEM we had a brief introduction to some of ongoing research projects in Ethiopia, Peru and Bolivia as a joint collaboration platform in the context of climate change adaptation and rural development.We are grateful to Prof. Kalbitz, Prof. Kapp, Prof. Krabel and the PhD Students (Maxi Domke, Marolyn Vidaurre, François Jost and Hosea Mwangi) for giving the participants a practical insight into some key aspects of their research fields and methodological orientation by sharing their field experiences with CIPSEM.

Because of its comprehensive stock of temperate woody plant species, we also visited the Botanical Garden in Tharandt

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.by Hiba Mohammad (Syria)

Visiting the waste management experts of TU Dresden

Today the participants of the ongoing 39th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Postgraduate Course on Environmental Managment visited the Institute of Waste Management and Circular Economy of the TU Dresden in Pirna. The experts introduced the group to their research facilities and laboratories as well as presenting aspects of the potential of waste management in terms of reducing green-house-gas emissions.

Photos: A. Lindner

Excursion to the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research

Today’s program was an excursion to Leipzig to visit the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and one of their experimental field sites, the Global Change Environmental Facility (GCEF) in Bad Lauchstädt, a small village west of Leipzig (very small in fact, but Goethe was there).

Having arrived at the UFZ, the group got an introduction about the Helmholtz Association and its research centers in Germany. Apart from that the research structure and research fields of the UFZ were also topics in the morning.

In the afternoon we set out for Bad Lauchstädt and visited a very interesting large field experiment where the consequences of climate change for ecosystem processes under different land use options are investigated. The UFZ made a great video about the GCEF, check it out by clicking here!

(Photos: A. Lindner)

Local water supply and climate change in Bolivia – role play

In an Andean Village, the traditional water supply system is failing due to changing framework conditions. How should the supply system be developed? How to take into account uncertainties and different interests? Prepared with individual background reading, our Environmental Management course participants represent different stakeholder groups in a meeting to agree on the future strategy for a water supply system.

The role play develops academic as well as practical skills and helps to recognise the complexity of negotiations and professional practice.