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Kenyan Firms Reducing Water Wastage Record Increased Profit

Water shortages translate into higher energy prices, higher insurance and credit costs, and lower investor confidence, all of which further undermine business profitability. More common than the risk of not having enough water is the risk that businesses find their comparative or competitive advantage undermined by cost inflation driven by water scarcity.

Kenya is classified as a “chronically water scarce” country with a limited natural endowment of fresh water of only 647m3 per capita, and is projected to fall to 245m3 per capita by the year 2025.

Phyllis Wakiaga-Kenya Association of Manufacturers(KAM)
Phyllis Wakiaga-Kenya Association of Manufacturers(KAM)

Most of this scarcity is attributed to excessive abstraction and end use inefficiencies. The decreasing availability, growing demand and declining quality for water are creating significant challenges to businesses who have traditionally taken clean and reliable water supply to be inexpensive. Consequently, the cost of water has gone up thereby attracting public attention to the point of calling upon water utilities and consumers to embrace efficient water use and management practices.

Wasteful technologies lead to water loss

KAM is supporting industries by offering water and wastewater auditing services. Through the audits it has been established that industries lose water through inefficient technologies and practices adopted within the facilities.

Water and wastewater audit study is a qualitative and quantitative analysis of water consumption and wastewater discharge which helps efficient water utilisation and conservation and reuse/recycling of wastewater after suitable treatment. It helps in determining the amount of water lost from a distribution system and cost of this loss to the utility. The audits are aimed at identifying and mapping out areas where water is lost or wasted and subsequent measures drawn for purposes of improvement. 

Water audits assist manufacturers and other target sectors to reduce production costs through increased efficiency, thereby increasing profits, increasing employment opportunities, creating more wealth and alleviating poverty. In addition, as water use is energy intensive, this exercise will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus contribute to mitigation to climate change.

Water shortage, quality affect business

Findings from the audits quantify value of the inefficiencies and losses in an industry and recommendations made on current appropriate technologies as well as measures to be adopted. Savings and financial analysis back up the need for replacement of the inefficient systems.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers identifies water intensive companies and approach them to help improve their efficiencies and reuse and recycling of wastewater. So far, over 20 companies have benefitted from this service.

Manufacturers face numerous challenges in water resource management which contribute to a loss estimated 20-30% of water.

Find more details from our 2019 water Yearbook

About Kaburu Mugambi

Kaburu Mugambi is a veteran of business reporting having worked with two national newspapers in Kenya. He is a graduate of economics from Kenyatta University. He started his journalism career in 2000 with The People Daily as a business reporter before becoming a business sub-editor. He joined Daily Nation in 2004 as a business writer. He holds a post-graduate diploma in mass communication from University of Nairobi's School of Journalism and an MBA in marketing from the same university. In 2016, he founded Water Tower, a media firm focused on water, energy and climate. Its content cuts across water, energy and climate with emphasis on adaptation and sustainability.

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