Toward improving household livelihoods using rain water harvesting technologies in Matungulu sub-county, Machakos, Kenya

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Peter Wekesa
John Muthama
Jane Mutune


households; harvesting; livelihoods; Rainwater; Technologies


Better utilization of rainfall through rainwater harvesting can greatly increase agricultural productivity, improve food security and alleviate poverty. Water is the main limiting resource for crop production in arid sub-Saharan Africa. The biggest challenge currently is growing water shortage and dwindling rivers. This has impacted the livelihoods of rural population in arid and semi-arid counties. The introduction of novel rain-water harvesting (RWH) is, however, seeking to mitigate the effects of perennial droughts in arid areas. Successful adoption of such technologies has the potential to alleviate water problems faced by rural households. In Kenya, very little research has been conducted about adoption of water harvesting technologies and their role in curbing water shortages. Therefore, there was a need to interrogate the extent to which adoption of water harvesting technologies has impacted households in Matungulu Sub-County. Focus group discussions, interview with key informants, and structured questionnaires were used to collect data for the study which were then analyzed using SPSS version 22 software. The findings indicated that overall, a composite mean of 4.04 and a standard deviation of 0.699 of the respondents agreed that incentives from the county government significantly promoted water harvesting technologies. This was confirmed by a positively strong and significant correlation between the integration of RHT in the county development agenda and the impact on household livelihoods. A further regression analysis indicated that Integration of RHT had a positive and significant influence on household livelihoods (β= 0.755, t=22.351, p=0.000<0.05). Results of this survey indicate that rainwater technologies are financed mostly by household heads and county government initiatives have not been adequately felt. There is a strong indication from the study that water harvesting technologies had a statistically significant influence on the impact on household livelihoods. To ensure sustainability of rainwater harvesting technologies, the study recommends that Machakos