Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 394

Full Length Research Paper

Challenges of water resource management and food production in a changing climate in Kenya

  Josephine K. W Ngaira
  School of Environment and Earth Sciences, Department of Geography, Maseno University, P.O Box, 333,Maseno, Kenya.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 18 March 2009
  •  Published: 30 April 2009



The tropics depend upon rain as the main source of water supply for agriculture. Concerns of food security and water scarcity in the wake of climate change are global and real particularly in the sub-Saharan Africa. As communities struggle to adapt to the challenges of food insecurity caused by climate change, they are also sensitive to the diminishing and management problems of water resources. Kenya with an estimated population of 36 million people of whom 10 million are faced with starvation is highly vulnerable to climate change effects. There is evidence from Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) that 850 million people in the world are affected by food insecurity, of whom 820 million live in the developing countries.  To come up with climate change associated challenges on food security and water resource management in Kenya, the study carried out climate and food related researches on agriculture in Arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya (ASAL), irrigation and fishing activities in the ASAL districts, evaluated climate and socio-economic data from Drought Monitoring Centre Nairobi (DMCN). It also evaluated and collected data from selected industrial towns in the country. It was established that Kenya faces severe food insecurity problem caused by climate change and mismanagement of water resources. Many seasonal rivers dry up due to poor management of irrigation processes, a lot of fish die due to release of industrial effluent to rivers, there is drying up of seasonal rivers, lakes and boreholes due to prolonged droughts, there is persistent crop failure and animal death and increased environmental migration from the ASAL due to increasing aridity. Proper management of water resources therefore, calls for the implementation of such measures as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for industrial operations, Assessment of sustained yields for rivers before abstraction is allowed, re-afforestation and forest protection for sustained river yields and increased rainfall for increased food production.


Key words: Food production, water resources, eutrophication, abstraction, water pollution, industrial effluent, sustained yields, droughts.