The Impact of Water Abstraction on River Mutonga Discharge Over the Last 30 Years

Padiel Mwirigi *

Mount Kenya University, Kenya.

Kagendo Jane

Mount Kenya University, Kenya.

David Karienye

Garissa University, Kenya.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


The declining water levels among rivers flowing through Tharaka Nithi County have been a major concern in the region for the last 30 years. The decline has adversely affected environmental sustainability, water resources, agriculture and the ecosystem. Understanding the relationship between rivers, change of climate and human activities are essential challenging areas. The research aimed to assess the impact of changed rainfall pattern and amount to the declining water levels in Mutonga River over years from 1990 to 2020 and it contribution to the changing water levels in river Mutonga. An exploratory survey and a correlational study were used to compile the data for this analysis. Three regional NEMA officials and three regional water resources authority officials were also surveyed, along with 270 residents in the River Mutonga area. The samples were based on 30% as per Mugenda Mugenda samples analysis. The rainfall and temperature data was acquired from the regional meteorological department based in Embu town. Data on river discharge was acquired from regional water resource authority (WRA) based in Meru town. The result may also recommend suitable practices for management of water resources and   come up with disaster control measures in water sector. The local community may also benefit from the study by getting the right information on better methods of conserving water resources, the findings and recommendations from the study may be used as basis for future research related to this study. From the findings, results show that river Mutonga flows has been decreasing over the last 30 years, water abstraction trend has been rising over the entire period in three decades causing a tremendous decline in river discharge. climatic changes have been noted in the region with rainfall amount dropping significantly and temperatures increasing, this has led to decline of the river discharge due reduced rainwater adding to the rivers and increased evaporation rates which leads to loss of water from rivers to the atmosphere. The result from the research may be used to enlighten the County Government of Tharaka Nithi, in making decision, especially in development projects implementation and in the strategic plans of the County Government.

Keywords: Water abstraction, irrigation, river flow, river discharge

How to Cite

Mwirigi , P., Jane , K., & Karienye, D. (2024). The Impact of Water Abstraction on River Mutonga Discharge Over the Last 30 Years. Asian Journal of Geographical Research, 7(1), 58–68.


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