Peter Kinyae Musyimi


The aim of this study is to assess the adopted water scarcity adaptation and coping strategies of rural households to climate variability. It also identifies suitable strategies that minimize the impact of climate variability on water sources in arid and semi-arid (ASALs) in Kenya. The study was carried out in Makindu Sub-county, Makueni County, Kenya. Data collection techniques such as questionnaires and in-depth interview with 370 households, key informants interviews were used to assess the adaptation and coping strategies of rural households and identify the most suitable strategies for the study area. Rainfall data was collected from Makindu Meteorological station and used for meteorological drought characteristics analysis. Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) was used to analyze drought severity in the study area between 1980 and 2011. SPI was used to quantify precipitation deficit for various time scales. Drought Intensity (DI) was used to determine decadal drought intensities.  SPI results showed that 18 years out of 31 with negative SPI values an indication of drought severity occurrence. The year 2005 was the driest in the area with an SPI of -1.76. The study also showed increasing drought intensities from 1990s to 2000s.   The study showed that the rural households had adopted varied adaptation and coping strategies to cope with impact of drought extremes on water sources. However, increase in drought characteristics occurrences minimized their resilience and adaptive capacities. The study observed that the strategies employed are unlikely to enable them cope with recent climate change and variability regimes, therefore need for most suitable and viable ones. The study identified viable strategies such as rainwater harvesting and sinking boreholes as long term measures that can enhance rural households’ resilience to climate change extremes in ASALs of Kenya.



Adaptation strategies; drought; climate change; rural households

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