The County Government of Kiambu County wanted to address the protection of water and environment in the County and sought support from IWaSP to facilitate interaction between the private sector and the Water Resources User Associations (WRUAs). The leadership capacity and commitment of the Kiambu County Government addressing water and environmental related problems was the determining factor for success in this partnership. Although the department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources took the initiative in contacting IWaSP Kenya, the involvement of the Department of Trade, Tourism, Industry and Cooperatives was crucial in the interaction with the private sector.
After a couple of introductory meetings between the County Departments (Ministers and Directors), an adapted WRAF market scan seemed to be the most practical tool to get the private sector interested in and committed to a partnership. IWaSP hired a consultant for the market scan and the County Government invited representatives of the private sector for a breakfast meeting. Together, the County Officials and the IWaSP team explained the objective and methodology of the scan and asked interested companies to participate. The response was positive and 15 companies were interviewed. A second breakfast meeting was organized to solicit the companies’ feedback about the outcome of the scan and to agree upon next steps.
The fact that almost all abstractors use groundwater instead of the expected surface water and that therefore they face common problems was an eye opener for the participants during
the feedback session. Also, the need for capacity building and new technologies, and the willingness to conserve the water resources and share best practices was jointly shared. The realization that stakeholders shared common risks and demands created a foundation to join hands and search for solutions.
Parallel discussions were undertaken to highlight water related risks of the public sector and the WRUAs in the catchment. At the end of January 2017, the public and private sectors and civil society organisations participated in a workshop to discuss the different risks and, if possible, to formulate a common goal. With the interested parties (already several of them committed informally), the County Government and IWaSP will take the next steps towards formalization of the partnership.