Weather and climate knowledge for water security: Institutional roles and relationships in Turkana

Lodwar town in Turkana County faces water security issues relating to its strategic location, (semi-)arid climate, hydroclimatic variability, high poverty rates, low piped water service and a rapidly growing population – challenges that are also relevant to many Kenyan and African small towns in fragile environments. Political, economic and environmental changes affecting Lodwar, including devolution, climate variation and change, demographic shifts, and the exploration of subterranean resources (both water and oil), make this an important time to examine the challenges and prospects for inclusive water security. This working paper discusses findings from a 2016 study of the institutions involved in water decision-making in Lodwar, focusing on their access to and use (or non-use) of weather and climate information. What organisations are involved in water decisions affecting Lodwar town; how do they negotiate information access, accountability and uncertainty; and what is at stake? Drawing on qualitative material collected during a 10-week study of institutional arrangements and decision-making, this paper explores connections and mismatches between weather/climate knowledge and water decisions in Lodwar town and the wider Turkwel basin.

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UK Department for International Development Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

'Access to water is a defining challenge for the 21st century. The UK has already helped 43 million people to access clean water, but there is far more to be done.'

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