Water and Sanitation Chief Administrative Secretary Winnie Guchu has stressed the government will continue with the ongoing water sector reforms required by the Water Act, 2016. She said the reforms must be continuous and consistent to cope with the ever-emerging dynamics within the water sector for its continued growth.
She was speaking at the ministry’s head office in Nairobi during a presentation “Reflections on the Water Sector Reforms in Kenya,” by German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) programme manager Dirk Schaefer, who is in charge of water sector reforms.
Ms Guchu thanked GIZ Water Sector Reform for consistently supporting the ministry in water reforms for over two decades. The project wound up in December 2018.
The ministry is undertaking an ambitious agenda for the Kenya water sector through a long term, transformational programme aimed at building water security and climate resilience for economic growth and social well-being.
Constitution of Kenya requires revision of existing institutional and legal frameworks.
Key provision of the constitution is devolution of certain functions from national level to 47 counties, establishing basic rights to food, water and sanitation, defining water resources and establishing clear sustainability rules (related to environmental and financial sustainability, public participation and governance).
The Water Act, 2016, requires the restructuring or creation of new water sector institutions.
Ms Guchu said the ministry is working towards attaining universal water coverage by 2030 as envisaged by the Kenya Vision 2030 and is steadily increasing water coverage nationally from the current 60 per cent to 80 per cent in 2022 through initiations and implementation of major water projects countrywide.
She said sewerage and sanitation were also being prioritised to increase its current low national coverage level of 25 per cent to a higher figure to decrease the incidents of waterborne infections and to further improve sanitation and hygiene levels in the country.
Ms Guchu said the ministry was also encouraging Kenyans to harvest rainwater and store it for domestic use namely irrigation, washing of vehicles and gardening instead of using expensively treated water for such activities.
Addressing the meeting, Mr Schaefer said their water sector project in Kenya, which wound up in December 2018 had achieved a lot during the over 10 years of its implementation.
He cited the ongoing water sector reforms for the country as new institutional framework and establishment of a new sector orientation leading to improved performance by large and medium sized utilities.
Mr Schaefer said 50 per cent of Kenyans live in utility service areas and require urban water and sanitation solutions adding that the underserved are poor – about 40 per cent. He encouraged the establishment of water kiosks by water service providers to serve densely populated areas serving the urban poor to increase access to water.
Mr Schaefer said that 85 per cent of urban population depends on onsite sanitation but formalised sanitation chain and support to the poor is missing. He said that unprecedented urbanisation in Africa and Nairobi in particular is set to grow from 4.5 million today to 16 million in one generation.
Find more details from our 2019 water Yearbook