Navigating El Niño's Impact: Harnessing Rainwater for Sustainability in Kenya's Arid Regions

Kajiado, Kenya Technology, Science & Environment, Natural Disasters, Climate Change 06 Sep 2023

The United Nations issued a warning on Tuesday, urging global preparations for the ongoing El Niño weather phenomenon, which is expected to continue throughout 2023, leading to higher global temperatures. El Niño is a natural climate pattern associated with elevated worldwide temperatures, droughts in some regions, and heavy rains in others.
The UN's World Meteorological Organization has confirmed that El Niño is already underway, with a 90-percent likelihood of its continuation in the latter half of 2023. This forecast indicates that Kenya can expect heavy rains starting in September or October as a result of El Niño, potentially resulting in flooding, flash floods, and landslides.
As Kenya braces for these heavy rains, an examination of water harnessing awareness becomes imperative, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas where communities rely on crop and livestock farming for their livelihoods.

Why Focus on Water Harnessing?
Rainwater harvesting presents a compelling solution. It is a straightforward and cost-effective water supply technique that involves capturing and storing rainwater from rooftops and ground catchments for various purposes, including domestic, agricultural, industrial, and environmental use. When surface runoff is collected in reservoirs, it can effectively manage floods and mitigate droughts. Furthermore, this stored runoff can recharge groundwater, positively impacting springs and shallow wells.
Rainwater harvesting offers numerous social and economic advantages, contributing to poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The demand for rainwater has been steadily increasing in the region, serving not only crop production but also livestock and household needs. Approximately 69% of Eastern and Southern Africa's land falls within arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid zones, where permanent rivers are scarce.
Groundwater exploration, development, and abstraction are costly endeavors beyond the means of most farmers. Hence, there is growing interest in affordable alternative water sources that can be implemented using local resources.

The story will work best for TV news package, or long feature, Digital, or a text piece for a website.

To tell the story, I have access to the following for the B rolls & interviews:

• A member of a community that has dug a water pan (ordinary without a water pan), they are able to irrigate their small farms and provide water to their animals thanks to the water pan.
• A government official interview on policy, awareness and community support on water harnessing.

• An established farmer who has a big water pan that has a dam liner that can support farming in is 8-acre piece of land. He uses the water for His livestock too.
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