Multilevel governance of irrigation systems and adaptation to climate change in Kenya

Jampel Dell'Angelo, Paul F. McCord, Elizabeth Baldwin, Michael E. Cox, Drew Gower, Kelly Caylor, Tom P. Evans

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Multilevel governance of common-pool natural resources has been shown under certain conditions to sustain resources over time even when faced with various social and environmental disturbances or shocks. In the case of irrigation systems, evidence shows that multilevel institutional arrangements that include communities in a decentralized system of governance can function better than centralized systems. Kenya has implemented a legislative framework for water governance that decentralizes many aspects of water management to local levels, resulting in a multilevel institutional regime. Community water projects are empowered to manage some aspects of water resources for irrigation and domestic use-purportedly a level at which decision-makers are better suited to adapt to local dynamics. However, climate change and population increase constantly challenge the ability of these water projects to modify rules for water allocation so that all water demands are met. In this chapter, we describe the governance structure of community water projects near Mt. Kenya and illustrate the challenges for adaptive capacity with respect to different social and environmental disturbances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Global Water System in the Anthropocene
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges for Science and Governance
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319075488
ISBN (Print)9783319075471
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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