9 November 2012
UNEP Publishes Book on Water and Land Management in the Tana Basin
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A book launched by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) aims to improve land and water management in the Tana River basin in Kenya.

The book, titled "Securing Water and Land in the Tana Basin: A Resource Book for Water Managers and Practitioners" presents challenges and ecosystem-based management solutions to them.

UNEPNovember 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a book, titled “Securing Water and Land in the Tana Basin: A Resource Book for Water Managers and Practitioners” providing an overview of the Tana Basin in Kenya and discussing practical solutions to improve land and water security.

The book is designed to facilitate implementation of sub-catchment management plans by Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs) in Kenya. It identifies water scarcity as a challenge, noting the two strategic priorities in the Tana basin are: increasing water storage through development of reservoirs, improvement of groundwater recharge and wetlands conservation; and reducing non-beneficial evaporation. Highlighting the potential for applying ecosystem management practices in the basin, the book notes the need to address catchment degradation, sedimentation, over abstraction of surface water, pollution, wetlands encroachment, water scarcity, groundwater salinity, invasive species, wet season flooding and saline intrusion in coastal areas.

The book outlines strategies for the upper, middle and lower Tana catchment. In the upper Tana, the book recommends: introduction of land management measures to reduce landslides and erosion, combined with approaches to increase soil moisture and groundwater infiltration; protection and development of surface storage, through wetland protection, small-scale surface storage and groundwater recharge methods; and conservation of groundwater quality by protecting springheads and reducing urban and industrial pollution.

In the middle basin, the book calls for: the improvement of groundwater recharge and retention in alluvial zones; soil treatment; small-scale surface water storage; productive use of short-term flooding; the improvement of grazing range area management; and the protection and development of forests, including conversion of invasive species. Lower catchment management techniques recommended include: artificial recharge; dune infiltration in coastal zones; small-scale water storage; flood-farming techniques; the development of a participatory planning process for the Tana Delta; and the replanting of forests and grasslands.

The book includes chapters on: managing ecosystems, transforming landscapes, creating buffers; understanding the Tana basin; knowing what to do where; ecosystem management techniques; and references and further reading. Among ecosystem management techniques described are: contouring and terracing; bio-char, composting and mulching; making use of invertebrates; water harvesting, irrigation and flood recession farming techniques; protecting groundwater recharge zones and wetlands; and conservation agriculture. [Publication: Securing Water and Land in the Tana Basin: A Resource Book for Water Managers and Practitioners]

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