Empowerment of CBOs

“Water Resources Users Associations” (WRUA) play a crucial role in the context of IWM.

The terminology WRUA was established one decade ago in Kenya within the context of the Water Sector Reform. Major objectives of the Water Sector Reform were decentralisation and empowerment of the local communities towards sustainable water management.

Community based organisations (CBOs) are the base for the establishment of WRUAs:

  • WRUAs are democratic elected representatives of the local population within a management area.
  • WRUAs have legal entity and thus the power to enforcing laws by reporting illegal activities and bringing the case to court.
  • WRUAs mandate is to manage the water resources in a sustainable manner
  • WRUAs members are – in the best case – all people living in the management area
  • WRUAs can collect membership fees for management purposes, but are not allowed to generate income from water selling
  • WRUAs get assistance from regulatory authorities and report the progress of their action.

The terminology WRUA indicates already their mandate: Management of the water resources. In reality the WRUAs implement much less and up to the level of their management capacity, their needs and focus.

Most countries do not establish WRUAs but WUA. A WUA is a water user association; its priority mandate is to manage water distribution, but not to manage the water resources. Thus it is essential to carefully observe the proper naming and the mandate of the user associations.

However, the empowerment of community based organisations towards better water resources management is not everywhere implemented or seen as a benefit, but results from Africa show the positive change after giving responsibility to the locals and their representatives.