Visit the Irrigation Furrows of Marakwet

Visit the Irrigation Furrows of Marakwet 1

The ancient Irrigation Furrows of Marakwet bring the waters of the Embobut, Embolot, Enou and other rivers from the high Cherangany Hills, down the steep escarpment, to the warm Endo plains around the small town of Tot and to the fields of Arror.

The art of using water furrows for irrigation is an old one for the Marakwet, dating to their initial occupation of the area in the Kerio Valley. The technology of furrow construction is complex; it involves the use of trunks, wood, and stones lain on top of each other and with the support of mortar and leaves. From their sources, furrows follow weak or lower points passing through hills and valleys.

Due to the scarcity of water, the inhabitants of the area have over the years developed land use systems based on their perception and knowledge of the fragile ecological base. They started to rely on irrigation using the different perennial rivers fed from the Cherangany Hills. To reconcile the competing demands for water use, the Marakwet evolved a unique technique of managing water rights that took into consideration the needs of each clan. This water management system operates on non-bureaucratic principals that ensured that the furrows not only provided water not only for human and animal consumption but also for irrigation

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