A FOCUS ON WASH SITUATION
Universal access to Quality WASH services
Access to Water:
Kenya is classified as a water scarce country. The per capita renewable water resource stood at 647m3in 2015, but are projected to fall to 245 m3 per capita by the year 2025, which is well below the recommended minimum of 1000m³/capita/year. Despite the chronic water scarcity, the country has only developed 15% of its available safe water resources in an attempt to meet this glaring shortfall. Existing inadequacies in water infrastructure further exacerbates the low water supply reliability. These levels of water scarcity are a key limiting factor for development, and poses a major challenge to attaining the coverage targets of Kenya’s Vision 2030 as well as the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets. Partly because of these issues, the CoK 2010 entrenches water and public sanitation as a constitutional right, and places high premium on environmental conservation.
According 2015 Annual Water Sector Review Report, the national water coverage stood at 53% with significant variation between rural and urban areas, which respectively stood at 55% and 82%. About 30% of Kenyans have access to piped water, but even amongst this group, water supply remains rather intermittent, with some receiving water only twice per week.
Kenya’s surface water is generally described as brown and turbid due to pollution linked to degradation of catchment areas. This notwithstanding, there exists low levels of water quality monitoring and household water treatment. Other key challenges are high levels of non-revenue water, environmental degradation, poor water abstraction and management as well as effects of climate change. The impact of inadequate access to safe drinking water is most felt amongst the poor, creating a vicious circle of diseases and poverty which costs the country between 1% and 7% of its GDP annually.
Kenya’s water storage capacity is estimated at 103m3 per capita, of which 100m3 per capita is for hydropower production, leaving only 3m3 per capita for water supply and other uses such as irrigated agriculture. The limited storage capacity leaves the country vulnerable to climate and hydrologic variability granted the heavy reliance on rainfall for agriculture, electricity generation and water supply.
Access to Sanitation and Hygiene:
The current urban and rural sanitation coverage stands respectively at 73% and 70%, which appears to be on track in relation to national targets. The key challenges as regards sanitation include low levels of public awareness, weak policy and strategy at national and county levels, poor planning, low investment, weak sanitation infrastructure,negative socio-cultural beliefs and lack of appropriate technology for sanitation facilities. The situation regarding hygiene practices is equally poor, as is manifested in unsafe disposal of human excreta, low and inappropriate hand washing practices; poor food hygiene; poor personal hygiene; as well as poor disposal of solid waste effluent into water catchment bodies and storm water.
Half the hospital beds in developing countries are occupied by people with water sanitation or hygiene related diseases—adding an extra burden to limited health care delivery services. According to the World Bank desk report, poor sanitation costs Kenya US$324 million annually, equivalent to 0.9% of GDP, while open defecation costs Kenya US$88 million per year – yet eliminating the practice would require less than 1.2 million for latrines to be built and used.
WASH in Schools:
Poor sanitation contributes to school dropout and low literacy rates, especially among girls. There is limited funding by GoK for school sanitation within the Water, Education and Health Sectors.The percentage coverage of hand `washing facilities’ is low while the latrine: pupil stance ratio stands at 1:50, but with significant -regional disparities ranging from the highs of 1:108 and 1:94 in North Eastern and Nyanza respectively and the lows of 1:27 and 1:43 in Central and Eastern regions. Key challenges include loose soil formations leading to frequent collapse in constructed facilities, in schools, insufficient awareness in schools about pit latrine emptying services, and low prioritization of sanitation as demonstrated by limited budget allocation by schools towards WASH.