Kenya Water Tower Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Program (WaTer)



The need to protect water towers and their ecosystem services (water, energy, climate change and resilience) has led to the development of the Kenya’s Water Tower Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (WaTer) program.


The Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Program is designed to support the eradication of poverty through enhancing the productivity of ecosystem services in two of Kenya’s five water towers – Mt Elgon and Cherangany and its ecosystems covering eleven counties. The program is a six years program with a duration from 2014-2020 and with a total support of €31,000,000 corresponding to KES 3.6 billion.

The program is expected to enhance resilience to climate change by covering the Mt. Elgon and the Cherangany Hills, two of Kenya's critical ecosystems.

Public Implementing Partners

WaTer is a 6-year project funded by the European Union and has four Public implementing partners. Each partner has been allocated activities under each of the seven components or result areas. The University of Eldoret and ACAL have partnered with KEFRI in the implementation of Result Area 4: Science to inform design of community-level actions and policy decisions.

It will be coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, with the Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Water Towers Agency, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forestry Research Institute and the National Climate Change Secretariat as well as the eleven counties as the implementing agencies; Trans- Nzoia, Bungoma, West Pokot, Egeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Kakamega, Busia and Siaya County.

The objective is to facilitate the implementation of the national climate change action plan and the master plan for the conservation of water catchment areas. The agenda of these two policies is to ensure that catchment areas are preserved.

This program is expected to support Kenya to reduce the poverty through enhancing the productivity and resilience to climate change of Kenya’s water sources.

Launch of the EU WaTer Towers Project

The official launch of the EU WaTer Project was held at Hill School’s Sports Ground, Eldoret on Thursday June 23, 2016. Represented at this launch were all the stakeholders that included Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, EU Mission in Kenya, the Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Water Towers Agency, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forestry Research Institute the National Climate Change Secretariat, 11 County Governments, University of Eldoret and ACAL. The launch marked the start of the official implementation of the Project.

During the launch, the European Union Ambassador H.E. Stefano A. Dejak said "The EU supports projects that ensure the highest environmental protection. The Water Towers Program will help preserve the environment for present as well as future Kenyan generations, while improving the lives of the communities through ecologically and economically sustainable land use systems and livelihood interventions. This provides a win-win solution for both the community and the environment. This program is a key step to taking effective action in tackling Climate Change through sustainable ecosystem services."

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Prof Judi Wakhungu said "The program will improve the quality and quantity of ecosystem services provided by the two water towers, through increased forest cover, improved landscape and natural resource management / waste management systems, that will lead to increased benefits to communities from forest, agriculture and agro-forestry land use systems."

The program will be implemented in Cherangany Hills and Mount Elgon ecosystems and will include Lake Victoria and Turkana basins. It will also address a number of cross-cutting issues like climate change, gender equality, good governance and human rights and will benefit the eleven Counties of Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kakamega, Kisumu, Nandi, Siaya, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga and West Pokot.

Project Consultants

Prof Elijah K. Biamah

Environmental and Water Systems Engineer

Prof Biamah is an Environmental and Water Systems Engineer and is a Registered Lead Environmental Expert with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya. Prof. Biamah has 40 years of research, teaching and consultancy experience in environment, irrigation, water and natural resources management aspects of development projects in the USA, Africa, UK, China, South Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda and Kenya (Government and University of Nairobi) and many UN Agencies including: World Bank, FAO, WFP, IFAD, UNEP and UNDP.

Prof. Biamah’s consultancy experience has exposed him to the planning, monitoring and evaluation, policy and legislative issues concerning rural and urban development projects. Prof. Biamah has been involved in donor, community and environment oriented project planning and management in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Rwanda and China.

Jacquelin Mwendi Kiio

Agricultural Economist

Jacqueline is an Agricultural Economist with 21 years of practical experience in socio-economic and extension aspects of agriculture. Jacqueline has a Masters degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nairobi and currently a PhD candidate (Agribusiness management and Trade) at Kenyatta University. Jacqueline has held various professional positions while working with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Jacqueline has interacted with the rural community at various levels while working in the Ministry of Agriculture as well as in various community programs. Jacqueline has provided professional expertise in Monitoring and Evaluation, Gender Mainstreaming, Baseline Surveys, Environmental Impact Assessment (socio-economic aspects) and Agricultural Extension.

Jacqueline has collaborated with various projects including: World Food program-Kenya, Promoting Farmers Innovation (PFI) Project sponsored by UNDP; Income Generating Projects (GTZ-Integrated Food Security Program) and Kitui Agricultural program sponsored by Danish International Development Agency.

Jacob Dodoo

Socio-Economic Consultant

Jacob is a socio-economic consultant and a PhD candidate in environmental governance and management at Wangari Maathai Institute at the University of Nairobi. Jacob’s research interests include: evaluating the sustainability of payment for ecosystem services in the governance structure; livehood, poverty reduction and community studies.

Jacob has been a resource person associated with a number of consulting firms in Ghana, Kenya and Botswana. Jacob also lectures in environmental topics in universities in Kenya. Jacob holds an MBA in economics and finance from Leicester University. UK , Msc in International Hospitality  Management from Leeds Metropolitan University, UK and a Bsc in Tourism Management from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Jacob has a strong background in environmental impact assessment having been involved in a number of development projects.

Tasks Specific to ACAL Consulting


To undertake a baseline survey on biophysical and socio-economic status of the 2 Ecosystems to inform rehabilitation and conservation actions.

  • Compile data, maps and qualitative information on human settlement and land tenure from counties and sub-counties of the 2 ecosystems.
  • Validate profiles and maps with key informants
  • Conduct a survey on socio-economic status  of ecosystem dependent households in the 2 landscapes
  • Conduct a survey on utilization of public areas; gazetted forests, community lands and other public areas within the 2 ecosystems.
  • Review secondary information on demographic and economic profile of “hotspot” and vulnerable areas on public and community lands.


Integration of Selected rehabilitation and conservation technologies for improved Natural Resource Management demonstrated and integrated in the 2 water towers developed.

  • Undertake  a baseline survey of trees on farm
  • Assess communities' capacity needs on indigenous tree propagation and management
  • Undertake baseline survey on energy sources
  • Undertake a baseline survey of non- wood forest products (NWFPs)-Economic benefits and viability, key products of social economic importance
  • Document indigenous technical knowledge on production and utilization of NWFPs


Nature based enterprises targeting women, youth and people with disabilities promoted and developed

  • Identify and prioritize key nature based enterprises-identify ongoing/existing  beekeeping, butterfly, mushroom, medicinal herbs,  ornamentals, weaving, beading
  • Undertake a capacity needs assessment. Undertake a feasibility/viability study to rank the enterprises for support.
  • Village savings and loans associations (VSLA) established-1 per ecosystem

KEFRI + EU WaTer Towers Project

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Donors funding some of our clients


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