SERVIR Guides Flood Protection in Kenya

Published: Mar 16 2017

Like many rivers across the world, the Nzoia River in western Kenya pushes over its banks each year. For example, in November 2008, the river burst through the dikes, flooding the low-lying land around it. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at least 5,000 people were marooned or evacuated from the banks of the swollen river.

 Photo of flooding in western Kenya
Western Kenya: Working to Protect Against This  

In recent years, to protect lives and property in Kenya, SERVIR-Eastern & Southern Africa (E&SA) at the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) has provided high-accuracy flood level scenario maps to the World Bank to guide their flood protection dike repairs in the region. The SERVIR Flood Map Tool has been used to identify sections of the dikes that needed repair.  Based on this information, the World Bank’s Water Security and Resilience Project provided financial assistance to design and implement the repairs.

“We used the (SERVIR) maps for watershed modeling to help guide repair and construction of the flood prevention dikes,” says Peter Muiruri, Technical Manager and Lead Engineer for the World Bank Water Security and Climate Resilience Project.

The Flood Map Tool incorporates 30-meter resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) as well as high resolution elevation data from Digital Globe. The DEM was used to create a rating curve showing the relationship between streamflow and water elevation above the streambed.

 Flood level scenario map with inset

The dike reparation project is funded by World Bank and operates out of the Kenyan Ministry of Environment, Water, and Natural Resources. The final design of the dike reconstruction is expected to be complete in June 2017.


More details on the SERVIR tool can be found at

The overarching $160M Kenya Water Security and Climate Resilience Project website is

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