Research station Kitui, Kenya is now operational
The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) has set up a field measurement site in the Kitui District in Kenya. At this site research on improved water management in semi-arid regions is carried out, with a specific focus on small scale water harvesting systems. It is part of the research focus of the Water and Climate Risk department and IVM has been involved in project research in Kitui since 2005.
In September 2016, Dr. Ralph Lasage and two MSc Hydrology students of the VU have installed the meteorological and hydrological instruments, jointly with staff and MSc students of the Southern Kenyan University (SEKU). The current experiments focus on the infiltration and evaporation rates from water harvesting systems, to improve understanding of the water storage capacities. Knowledge developed from this research will help implementing organisations (NGOs, governments) in the design and choice of suitable water harvesting measures.
In 2017 Dutch and Kenyan students and university staff will continue the research activities. We will look into the effect of water harvesting on crop yield, jointly with the agricultural department of SEKU. And also into the effect of water harvesting systems on households income, diet, and time allocation. The latter will be studied by carrying out a household survey in the area.
Dr. Ralph Lasage