Water and Sanitation

General Framework

According to international criteria, Kenya is a water scarce country. The country suffers from the effects of water scarcity due to the ongoing destruction of the main water catchment areas, the increasing pollution of water resources and the effects of climate change leading increasingly to more irregular and unequally distributed precipitations.

Despite significant reforms and investments in recent years, the infrastructure in the water supply and sanitation sector is still insufficient. According to current estimates, only half of the urban population have adequate access to safe drinking water and hygienic (basic) sanitation. As a consequence of the low access rates, diseases caused by polluted water are one of the major health hazards for the Kenyan population. Low-income and densely populated poor urban areas are particularly affected, with women and children suffering even more in these areas.

The improvement of the water and sanitation situation is challenged and influenced by high population growth and the steady urbanization with an annual urban growth rate of up to 10%. It is estimated that the percentage of urban population in Kenya is expected to double by 2030 to 60%; the demand for water will, therefore, quadruple in urban areas.

Objective and Approach of German Development Cooperation

Within the frameowork of “water and sanitation” as a priority area, the German Development Cooperation together with its implementing agencies KfW and GIZ, concentrates its efforts in urban area . The objective is to ensure sustainable and equitable access to safe water and basic sanitation in urban areas as well as to protect water resources. To this end, the German Development Cooperation will promote reforms in the overall framework of the water and sanitation sector, support investments in infrastructure in medium-sized towns surrounding Lake Victoria and in the rapidly growing areas around Nairobi. Country-wide poor urban areas will be supported by the Water Services Trust Fund. In addition, the German Development Cooperation aims at regulating water resources as a contribution to protecting the environment together with Kenyan partners.

Examples: What has been achieved?

The Kenya Water Services Trust Fund was established to promote access to clean water and basic sanitation in poor urban areas, especially in slum areas and informal settlements. Since 2009, more than 1.6 million people in poor urban areas have received better access to water; with more than 150,000 people having gained access to basic sanitation facilities through the support of German Development Cooperation.

Furthermore, more than 400,000 people have gained a sustainable access to clean water in the six areas in Western Kenya(Kitale, Bungoma, Webuye, Kericho, Kisii, Nyamira),which are supported by the German Development Cooperation. According to the annual reports of the water regulator, which evaluates the performance of 65 water companies, the top three water service providers have been supported by the German Development Cooperation.

At national level, the objective of combating poverty and the realization of the human right to water, has been anchored in national policies and strategies as well as the new legislation on water. Water conflicts have declined in sub-catchment areas due to the activity of water user associations and the issuance of water permits to control excessive water extraction. A newly introduced participatory planning for catchment areas in Kenya is now the standard approach.