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Interview with Lilian Nguracha Balanga, Founder of Women.conserve

Short description of the Samburu community

The Samburu community is the Nilotic ethnic community of North Central Kenya. They dress in red shukas and adorn themselves with necklaces, bracelets and anklets mostly from beads. They believe in God Nkai, living in the mountains. They are nomadic are pastoralists, meaning that they keep animals (e.g., cows, goats, sheep and camel) which is their main source of livelihood as they get milk, meat and blood for self consumption and/or to be sold. They move from place to place in search of pasture and water.

Interview with Lilian Nguracha Balanga, Founder of Women.conserve

Short description of the Samburu community

The Samburu community is the Nilotic ethnic community of North Central Kenya. They dress in red shukas and adorn themselves with necklaces, bracelets and anklets mostly from beads. They believe in God Nkai, living in the mountains. They are nomadic are pastoralists, meaning that they keep animals (e.g., cows, goats, sheep and camel) which is their main source of livelihood as they get milk, meat and blood for self consumption and/or to be sold. They move from place to place in search of pasture and water.

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Stakeholder

Global Water Partnership

The Global Water Partnership (GWP) is a global action network with over 3,000 Partner organisations in 179 countries. The network has 69 accredited Country Water Partnerships and 13 Regional Water Partnerships.

The network is open to all organisations involved in water resources management: developed and developing country government institutions, agencies of the United Nations, bi- and multi-lateral development banks, professional associations, research institutions, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector.

University of Zimbabwe: Department of Construction and Civil Engineering

The Department of Construction and Civil Engineering at the University of Zimbabwe is one of the 8 departments in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment.The department is already a major center for water and sanitation engineering through its MSc programmes which have produced graduates from eastern and southern Africa. The department also boasts of soil and material and timber research facilities which can be used to benefit the country at large.

Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency

The Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) is a wholly owned Government of Zimbabwe entity, established under the Research act [Chapter 10:20]. It is responsible for designing, promoting, coordinating and conducting research and development initiatives that promote advances in Geospatial Sciences and Earth Observations, Space Engineering, Space Science, Aeronautical Engineering, Mechatronics, Satellite Communication Systems, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Land Positioning Systems, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Launch of Satellites.

Groundwater Relief

Groundwater Relief is a charity that provides specialist groundwater support to the humanitarian and development sectors. The support is delivered through staff and a global membership of groundwater experts.

Kenya Space Agency

The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) was established under the Ministry of Defence, as the successor to the National Space Secretariat (NSS), by Executive Order through Legal Notice No. 22 of 7th March 2017 with the mandate to promote, coordinate and regulate space related activities in the country.
Vision: The vision of the Agency is to be the premier Space Agency in promotion of access and effective utilization of Space Economy for national sustainable development.

Omanos Analytics

We founded Omanos with the mission of using space data analysis to empower communities around the world, and to bring the benefits of satellite data insights to a wider audience. Much of our work has used satellite data analysis to reveal the social and environmental impacts of, e.g., mining, agriculture, and the hydrocarbon industry across four continents for range of clients – international NGOs, governments, supra-national bodies including the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency.

Person

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Viola Kemunto Orina

Geo-information and Data Engineer Kenya Space Agency

Viola Orina's experience at the Kenya Space Agency directly aligns with the thematic focus of the upcoming conference on "Space Technology for Water Management." Having been involved in projects centered around the practical application of space technology, particularly in monitoring water extents using satellite imagery and remote sensing techniques, Viola brings an understanding of the regional dynamics, challenges, and opportunities pertaining to water resources.

mugshot of the person

Erick Villah Okeyo

Space Communicator Kenya Space Agency

Erick Okeyo is a seasoned Space communications specialist, with over a decade of experience within the space industry. In his capacity at the Kenya Space Agency, Erick's primary responsibility involves distilling complex scientific and IT concepts from his organization and devising strategic methods to effectively communicate this information to diverse audiences, both domestically and internationally.

Space-based Solution

Collaborating actors (stakeholders, professionals, young professionals or Indigenous voices)
Suggested solution

Why is the approach suggested

Rainwater harvesting is a crucial solution for water scarcity in semi-arid countries like Kenya. Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) cover 80% of its territory, making rainwater harvesting essential. There are various reasons why this approach can be beneficial in Samburu County.  

  • Water Scarcity Mitigation: Semi-arid regions face unpredictable rainfall and frequent droughts, exacerbated by climate change. Rainwater harvesting captures the little rainfall received, providing a reliable water source. 
  • Sustainable Water Supply: Rainwater harvesting techniques include small planting basins, trenches, stone bunds, and grass strips. These structures redirect runoff towards crops and pastures. By capturing rainwater, communities can sustain livestock, crop production, and domestic needs. 
  • Environmental Resilience: Droughts in Kenya are becoming more frequent due to environmental degradation and climate change. Rainwater harvesting helps mitigate the impact of these droughts.  
  • Cost-Effective and Low-Tech: Rainwater harvesting doesn’t require complex infrastructure. It utilizes existing resources effectively. 

Requirements

  • Site Selection: Identify suitable locations for rainwater harvesting. Consider factors such as rainfall patterns, topography, and proximity to communities. Choose areas with consistent rainfall during specific seasons. 
  • Catchment Area: Determine the catchment area where rainwater will be collected. Common catchment surfaces include rooftops, roads, or open fields. Ensure that the catchment area is clean and free from contaminants. 
  • Conveyance System: Design an efficient system to channel rainwater from the catchment area to storage facilities. Components include gutters, downspouts, pipes, and first-flush diverters. Proper sizing and maintenance are crucial. 
  • Storage Tanks or Reservoirs: Select appropriate storage options based on community needs. Common choices include: 
  • Roof catchment tanks: Placed near buildings to store rainwater from rooftops. 
  • Ground-level tanks: Buried or partially buried to store larger volumes. 
  • Rock catchments: Natural depressions or excavated pits lined with impermeable materials. 
  • Consider tank capacity, material durability, and accessibility for maintenance. 
  • Water Quality and Treatment: Rainwater may contain impurities. Implement filtration systems to improve water quality. Use first-flush diverters to discard initial runoff (which may contain debris). 
  • Climate Resilience: Adapt the project to changing climate conditions. Monitor rainfall patterns and adjust storage capacity accordingly. 

Data requirements 

  • Rainy season identification 
    Decadal Precipitation in Kenya
    Figure 1: Decadal Precipitation in Kenya. Precipitation information during 21-31 December 2023. (Source: Dekadal Rainfall (meteo.go.ke))

     

    • Precipitation data from at least the last three years: CHRIPS  
    Decadal rainfall data
    Figure 2: Decadal rainfall in mm from July 2020 to July 2023. (Source: Dekadal Rainfall (meteo.go.ke))

     

    Precipitation maps 

    samburu precipitation map
    Figure 3: Precipitation map from 2023 made with QGIS. Version 3.32.3 / Version 3.28.11 LTR. The yellow areas indicate heavy rainfall, the green areas indicate moderate rainfall. 

     

    samburu precipitation map
    Figure 4: Precipitation map from 2024 made with QGIS. Version 3.32.3 / Version 3.28.11 LTR. The yellow areas indicate heavy rainfall, the green areas indicate moderate rainfall.  

     

    • Digital elevation Model (DEM)
    Samburu DEM map
    Figure 5: Precipitation DEM map made with QGIS. Version 3.32.3 / Version 3.28.11 LTR. 

    Future steps

    • Determine if enough water can be stored during the rainy season to last the dry season.
    Relevant publications
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