The rising demand for food production in a changing climate impacts water resources negatively in semi-arid agro-ecosystems. In the Tsavo sub-catchment of Kenya, this is compounded by a surging population and expansion of cropping as a land use; leading to increased abstraction of surface water resources and deterioration of related ecosystem services. The impact of increased abstraction is more profound during water stress seasons when stream-flow levels are low. While water policies have incorporated a requirement for environmental flows, unregulated abstractions persist suggesting an inherent challenge. Drawing on a sample of 279 households, we analysed farmers’ engagement in water resources management and explored how this can inform water resource planning. Seasonal water scarcity and user conflicts were the major challenges experienced by the farmers. Ordinal and logistic regression models show that knowledge, attitude and practices were culture-dependent being impacted by educational attainment, level of income, access to extension and membership to local networks. Attitude and practice were further influenced by land tenure and farm distance to water sources. Since knowledge of water management issues informed attitudes and practices, improved awareness and targeted extension support are necessary in the development and implementation of policy decisions on water resources management.
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