Water Resource Management at the Mpala Conservancy (Laikipia District, Kenya)

Client Organization: 
Mpala Wildlife Foundation
Project Location : 
Laikipia District, Kenya
Summary of Project Idea: 

The Mpala Conservancy, located in Kenya's arid Rift Valley, faces the pressure of water scarcity and the challenge of using that resource sustainably.  This team focused on assessing the availability of water sources, evaluating water quality and quantifying demand for water resources at Mpala.  Water sources accounted for included the Ewaso Ng'iro river, an aquifer, rainwater harvesting, and weirs capturing surface run-off.  Water quality analysis was conducted during both the rainy and dry seasons at the sources, storage tanks, and main points of use.  Water quality parameters tested for included: fecal/total coliforms, nitrates, phosphates, hardness, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen.  Demand was quantitatively measured by metering flow at 26 strategic locations throughout the property.  Daily bed-night records allowed for demand to be normalized per capita.  Appropriate filtration and disinfection opportunities were investigated following the collection of quality and demand data necessary as design parameters.  Based upon thorough investigation and analysis of Mpala's water resources the team has developed recommendations for their client regarding future water use and management in light of predicted operating expansion and climate change.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Environmental Policy and Planning
Behavior, Education, and Communication
Sustainable Systems
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Don Scavia
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Steve Rippberger, MS, Sustainable Systems/ Behavior, Education and Communication
  • Alicia Ritzenthaler, MS, Environmental Policy and Planning/ Aquatic Sciences
  • Rachel Fletcher, MS, Conservation Biology/ Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Chelsea Ransom, MS/MSE, Sustainable Systems
Project Status: 
Past Project