The Lake Victoria basin is faced with threats from increasing population and low uptake of technological innovations to enable basin communities to build climate change resilience and protect natural resources. These threats have resulted in widespread watershed degradation, increased water pollution, declining water level especially in major rivers, increased prevalence of water borne diseases, increased conflicts over access to and use of natural resources, declining fisheries, loss of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity and more frequent and unpredictable droughts and floods
Since inception and in pursuance to its functions, LBDA has implemented several programmes and projects in Agriculture, Water supply, irrigation, catchment conservation and climate change adaptation and mitigation all geared towards poverty reduction, enhancing food security, employment, building communities resilience on the impacts of climate change.
The Lake Victoria basin’s warm and dry climate offers tremendous potential to exploit solar power for electricity, water supply and irrigation especially for rural communities and smallholder farmers. Through the National Government’ programme on mitigation of drought, LBDA has constructed fifteen (15) solar powered boreholes. Before the project, a survey done by LBDA before implementation revealed that approximately half of the population in these areas drew water from shallow wells most of which were contaminated with pollutants and other disease carrying organism.
Currently the residents in 15 rural communities in Nduru, kasanga’any and Kanyalwal (Kisumu County), Kokuro, Minyenya and Lichota (Migori County), Siranga, Umina and Masala (Siaya County), Omboga, Kiabuya (Homabay County) and Ebukhaga, Kegoye (Vihiga County) can now access to clean water thanks to solar powered equipment that pump it from the boreholes. Approximately 25,000 people are already benefitting from the 8 solar powered boreholes including 12 schools in the project areas. The boreholes
serve a total of approximately 2000 households. Most of the pumps are located in schools so that children are the first beneficiaries of the clean water and because the schools are community owned institutions in which residents have a common interest and this enhances sustainability and ownership of the project.
By directly managing fish production, aquaculture has the potential to enhance the adaptive capacity and build resilience to climate change in vulnerable communities, compensating for variability and decline in capture fisheries exacerbated by climate change. Vast majority of people within the basin depend directly or indirectly on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. It is also a potential pathway of development for rural smallholders and marginalized especially women groups. Aquaculture Technology Transfer Centres located at Kibos (Kisumu County), Alupe (Busia County), Rongo (Migori County), Yala (Siaya) and Lunyu (Trans Nzoia County) positions LBDA as the driver of Aquaculture development in the Lake Basin Region through propagation and provision of high quality tilapia and catfish fingerlings for fish farmers in the region to enhance food security and help community adapt to climate change impacts.
Bamboo is one of the most productive and fastest growing plants on the planet. Its biomass and carbon production is 7-30% higher compared to fast growing woody species. Bamboo has been identified as an alternative source to wood. It offers the potential for value adding opportunities within areas of furniture, carpets, bags, flooring, poles, ornamentals, blinds, curtains, etc. which could be done with minimal plant and equipment within rural areas. The bamboo column or stem has been made into an extended diversity of products ranging from domestic household products to industrial applications. Examples of bamboo products are food containers, skewers, chopsticks, handicrafts, toys, furniture, flooring, pulp and paper, boats, charcoal, musical instruments and weapons.
Most recently, LBDA has put in place a programme that will see the Authority propagate 5,000,000 bamboo seedlings within the region using the latest technology of bamboo propagation in the greenhouses. This besides enhancing conservation and climate change mitigation efforts, will also revolutionize cottage industries within the regions, create employment and promote food security through sale of bamboo products. In addition, the programme will enhance the realization the SDGs and the country’s forest cover target of 10% by 2030; conserve the county’s major catchments, augment soil and water conservation and cushion the country against adverse effect and impacts of climate change.
The project when rolled out will see the following outputs:
• 5,000,000 bamboo seedlings propagated at Lichota, Muhoroni, Lunyu and Sangalo Technology Transfer Centres in the Lake Victoria Basin
• 100 acres of bamboo nuclear plantation developed in Lichota Technology Transfer centre in Migori County to provide raw materials for cottage Inductries
• 1,000 ha of degraded riparian reserves, water catchments and farmlands rehabilitated through planting of bamboo seedlings;
• A robust bamboo marketing chain for sustainable bamboo industry developed through establishment of 20 bamboo cottage industies and bamboo product resource centres
• 100 Local Community groups within the Lake Basin Region capacity built for bamboo production, utilization, processing and marketing for rural livelihood support
Managing Water Scarcity and Abundance in the Lake Victoria Basin, Kenya
One of the emerging best practices to build resilience to climate change water stress (droughts and floods) impacts is rainwater harvesting. This is the collection and management of floodwater, or rainwater runoffs to increase water availability for domestic and agricultural use and well as maintenance of the ecosystem. The technology employed by LBDA include: construction of water pans and small dams, sinking of boreholes and shallow wells and opening up of drainage canals.
Rainwater harvesting has the potential to build community resilience to climate change and related disasters. In the last 3 years, several water pans and small dams have rehabilitated/constructed by the Authority for flood mitigation and drought resilience. These include; Siabai(Migori County), Khayo (Bungoma), Ng’eng’e (Trans Nzoia), Marinda (Trans Nzoia), Nyalunya (Kisumu), Buoye (Kisumu) among others.