By Athman Amran
Increasing the area under irrigation is likely to strain water supply, Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) warns.
While the area under irrigation currently is less than 25 per cent of potential acreage, irrigation already constitutes water demand area of 70.8 per cent, while domestic water demand is about 21.7 per cent. The remaining percentage of water use goes to industrial, livestock, fisheries, and wildlife.
“In as much as water for irrigation is in great demand, the current area under irrigation is still quite low, with only 129,000ha of a potential area of 539,000ha, which is less than 25 per cent,” the report, which was launched on Tuesday in Nairobi, said. The study was sponsored by GIZ, a German organisation and officially launched by Director of WRMA John Nyaoro.
The report indicates that with expansion of irrigation as outlined in irrigation policy, water demand is expected to increase.
“This will require more investment in storage to enhance safe yield to meet this demand,” the report indicates. Tana and Ewaso Ngiro North catchment areas have the highest demand for irrigation water while Lake Victoria North and South have the lowest. Regarding domestic water use, Athi catchment area leads due to water demand for Nairobi and Mombasa.