Humphrey M’ragwa kimathi


Management of natural resources and the environment


Catchment Conservation


44 years


Maara, Tharaka Nithi


Eastern Kenya



Humphrey M'ragwa kimathi

Mr. Humphrey Kimathi is a coffee and tea farmer. He is also the chairman of the Nithi Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) under the IFAD Project: Upper Tana Catchment Natural Resource Management Project (UTaNRMP). A WRUA is a locally based institution made up of an association of water resource users, riparian land owners and other stakeholders who are formally and voluntarily associated for the purposes of cooperatively sharing a common water resource.
WRUAs contribute to hydrological knowledge for decision-making processes along catchment areas. The role of WRUAs has changed rapidly as we are no longer restricted to just resolving conflicts and fostering cooperation between water users like in the past. They now have an additional responsibility of collecting hydrological data within their respective sub-catchments. Humphrey has been trained on how to collect data such as reading rain gauges, measuring stream flows, turbidity and sediment loads. He then shares the data collected to the relevant government authorities for validation and interpretation and the information derived from this process is used to formulate important strategies such as water allocation plans.
Nithi WRUA was started in 2013 through the initiative of the Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA). Stakeholders were invited to discuss ways in which water resource management could be managed in the area. Humphrey was chosen as chairperson as he has been interested in water issues and was active in community issues with minimal benefits. He took responsibility to register the WRUA as a legal entity in the year 2013. It was financed by Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF) and additional funds from UTANRMP (2 million Kenya Shillings) and Sub Catchment Management Programme (SCMP) development.
The WRUAs key activities include:
Riparian conservation and protection, Training, Baseline survey, Abstraction survey, Enforcement compliance, Final reporting
Humphrey has been able to mobilize the community from the UTaNRMP project when there are calls for proposals for their livelihood activities. He offers training on demand (On group dynamics women groups, creating awareness on legal capacity). He also trains members on financial management and budgeting and manage conflicts in the WRUA whenever the need arises. As a WRUA they procure seedlings from their communities for purposes of planting trees within riparian land and they engage the community in conservation. They have since gained knowledge on water conservation and improved on illegal obstruction of water. Tree cover has also improved.
The main objective of the riparian conservation is to empower the land owners on how to use the land with minimal pollution to the water source. The main method used in Nithi WRUA is to encourage land owners to plant trees along the riparian land for agroforestry, planting of fodder crops along the river banks for livestock which also help reduce soil erosion by providing soil cover.
To achieve the above, the WRUA pegs the riparian land and holds the consultative meetings with the riparian land owners on the best farming practice to reduce land degradation.
Benefits to families and communities from the planting of bamboo include::
Source of fodder: As bamboo is a grass, not a tree, it continues to grow when cut. So, it can serve as source of fodder, feed and woody material at the same time.
Reduction of soil erosion: Bamboo roots grab onto soil and hold it fast. Plant bamboo on a steep slope or riverbank and it prevents mudslides and erosion.
Retention of tree cover that was destroyed: Bamboo can be harvested sustainably, new shoots appearing from the roots every year and growing to harvestable condition in just four or five years, far faster than slow-growing hardwoods.
Improvement of water quantity and quality: Bamboo roots leach heavy metals from the soil, hold the soil together and draw water closer to the surface.
Use in construction: Bamboo wood is used to construct items that are very attractive to tourists. Skilled artisan make a wide range of utensils like Spoons, Spoon holders, Chopping boards, skewer sticks, knife holders, cups, bowls, dish holders, salt shakers etc. They are easy to find.
Source of fuel (charcoal and firewood): These are common sources of fuel for local communities at the household level. This kind of fuel is scarce and expensive due to timber logging that was done in the region due to poverty within the communities. Therefore, bamboo is a solution to the fuel challenges.
Reduction of siltation of rivers and water bodies by growing bamboo on slopes and buffer zones along riverbanks and lakeshores.
Bamboo grows faster related to other species: How does bamboo improve on hardwood? Cut down a hardwood tree and it’s gone. It will take several decades for another to grow in its place; it can take a century for a forest to grow back after cutting. But bamboo is a grass, not a tree. Under the right conditions, it can grow a full meter a day — you can literally watch it grow. It is also fast maturing. A new bamboo plant is mature enough to harvest after three to six years, depending on the species. Most important, bamboo is renewable. Unlike hardwood trees, bamboo regrows after harvesting, just as grass regrows after cutting. After it is mature, bamboo can be harvested every single year for the life of the plant.
Support bananas from falling: Banana farming is a common economic activity for farmers within the catchment. Therefore, farmers suffer great losses following the strong wind blowing and when banana bunches reach maturity stage, they are very heavy making the stem weaker thus falling.

Similar posts