2003 Volume 2003 Issue 44 Pages 60-67
The Mwea Irrigation Scheme (MIS) is a paddy irrigation project servicing an area of 5, 890 ha in central Kenya; the scheme was developed from 1954 to 1973. Until 1993, recurrent and sometimes serious shortages of irrigation water occurred in the lower reaches of the MIS. In 1991, a technical cooperation project with the Japan International Cooperation Agency was started in the MIS. One of the activities of the project was the improvement of irrigation water distribution. This paper describes the changes and improvement in water distribution in the MIS from 1994 to 1998. The organisation of water distribution was restructured and a water distribution plan was drawn up based on 9 selected flow-measuring structures named Check Point Nos. 1-9. Water resource shortages, mainly due to droughts, were experienced in 3 of the 5 years that this new plan was implemented. During the implementation period, farmers upstream of the scheme area started using irrigation water for horticultural crop cultivation, especially during the dry season, thus placing further pressure on the limited water resources.