Use of water from public sources

According to the Water Act 2002 of the Republic of Kenya, any individual who wants to use water from a natural water body like a river or a lake needs to apply for a license to do so. Those licenses can be obtained from Water Resource Management Authority, either in Nairobi or its sub-regional offices.

The issuing of a permit is supposed to take 21 days. The permits are classified into classes A, B, C and D, according to the amount of water to be used. Small-scale farmers who, for example, farm on half an acre plot, might need, depending on the crop and the season, 20 cubic metres per day.

In class A which provides for up to 50 cubic metres per day, no fees are charged. However, a water metre must be installed before using water from a river or lake in order to control the quantity. Even though the extraction of up to 50 cubic metres of water a day are free of charge so far, a permit must be obtained.

In response to the growing scarcity of water in Kenya, local bodies like the Lake Naivasha Water Resource Users Association, a development of WRMA, encourage water users to acknowledge the serious situation and pay Sh2,000 per month for a class A permit, particularly in areas where water scarcity has reached an alarming level. The money, collected by WRMA, is used by the associations to manage the country’s scarce water resources. AB WRMA (Water Resources Management Authority) in Nairobi, NHIF Building, Upper Hill, Tel. 020 – 272 99 46,