Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Estimating Water Table Elevations by Spatial Interpolation: A Case Study of Kamariny Division, Keiyo North District, Kenya

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Estimating Water Table Elevations by Spatial Interpolation: A Case Study of Kamariny Division, Keiyo North District, Kenya

Article excerpt

Abstract

Water scarcity is a serious issue in Keiyo District and Kenya in general. Indeed Kenya has been classified as a water-scarce country. The water crisis in Kenya is disrupting social and economic activities throughout the country. As stipulated in the Vision 2030, the economic and social developments anticipated will require more high quality water supplies than at the moment. To be able to achieve this, there is need to conserve water sources and find new ways of harvesting and using rain and underground water. The Vision 2030 for water and sanitation is to ensure that improved water and sanitation are available and accessible to all. The surface water resources of the study area are meagre and the entire region is principally dependent on groundwater for its water needs. The study therefore focused on the exploration of ground water in Kamariny Division of Keiyo District using the latest techniques in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and particularly spatial interpolation. The main aim of the study was to estimate water table elevations in the Division. The results of the study will assist the local people in estimating the depth of the water table at any point in the area and make the right decisions in terms of choosing the best site for their wells and also estimating the cost of digging the wells in advance. Scholars and general readers can adopt the same methodology in estimating water table elevations in other areas in Kenya.

Keywords: ground water, spatial interpolation, geographic information systems, water table.

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INTRODUCTION

Kenya is classified as a water scarce country, as defined by its disproportionate ratio of actual water withdrawals compared with renewable water resources. Kenya's annual renewable fresh water supply is 647 cubic meters per capita (Water.org, n.d), a level that is projected to fall to 235 cubic meters per capita in 2025 (a country is categorized as "water scarce" if its annual renewable fresh water supply is less than 1000 cubic meters per capita). According to the Kenya Ministry of Water Resources Development, only about 50 percent of the rural population and 75% of the urban population have access to clean water. A lack of resources and improper management of existing water supplies result in poor health and instability in daily life (USAID, 2007). One of the reasons cited for the water shortage is the fact that potential water resources available nationally are abundant but under-exploited. It was established that Kenya has a total water potential of some 20.29 billion cubic meters against the projected demands of 3.56 cubic meters in 2010 (Millennium Water Alliance, n.d).

The economic and social developments anticipated by Vision 2030 will require more high quality water supplies than at present. The country, therefore, aims to conserve water sources and start new ways of harvesting and using rain and underground water in order to ensure that improved water and sanitation are available and accessible to all (GOK, 2007). There are two main water supplies used for consumption: surface water (lakes, reservoirs, rivers or stream) and groundwater. Groundwater is the purest form of natural water; the least contaminated and has very low turbidity due to natural filtration of the rain water (Mt Empire Community College, n.d). It is one of the most valuable natural resources, which supports human health, economic development and ecological diversity.

Ground water is an integral part of hydrological cycle which is a complex system that circulates water over the whole planet. The hydrological cycle starts as energy from the sun evaporates water from the oceans to form large cloud masses that are moved by the global wind system and, when conditions are right, precipitate as rain, snow or hail (Brassington, 2007). The hydrologic equation is a simple expression of the relationship between this precipitation and evaporation, infiltration and stream flow:

Precipitation = evaporation + infiltration + stream flow (Caswell, 1987)

When rains fall from the sky, some of it falls on to land and collects to form streams and rivers, which eventually flow back into the sea, from where the process starts all over again. …

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