The DFID-funded Smart River project is located in Burguret River sub-catchment, which flows west from Mount Kenya to the Laikipia plateau. Over the last decade, total river abstractions have doubled due to escalating community water project and agricultural demands. There is increasing tensions between all water users and significant water shortages in dry periods. This has resulted in many community water projects and water-based enterprises going without sufficient water, leading to economic loss and social hardship. Such challenges are common across Kenya, and are being compounded by a more variable and less predictable climate.
A Smart River System will be designed to automatically measure abstraction on daily time-steps to determine current water use patterns, to enable new allocation systems and to protect environmental flow allocations. Smart instrumentation such as meters and gauging stations will be installed during 2012. The project is being undertaken in partnership with Kenya’s Water Resources Management Authority, the Burguret Water Resource Users Association, Community Water Project representatives and Rural Focus Ltd.