TOWARDS ACCESS TO ALL

Cash crunch, climatic factors to blame for water scarcity — CS

Chelugui says there is a need to increase investment in the sector if the country is to achieve coverage to all citizens

In Summary

• The Water Services Regulatory Board performance shows that water coverage has slightly increased from 55 per cent the previous year to 57 per cent in 2017-18

• Drinking-water quality, improved slightly from 94 per cent to 95 per cent while hours of supply reduced from 14 per day to 13 hours.

Water CS Simon Chelugui in past function.
Water CS Simon Chelugui in past function.
Image: File

Poor investment and the projected population growth are likely to complicate Kenya’s bid to achieve universal access to drinking water and sanitation by 2030.

Climate variability is also likely to worsen matters.

On Thursday, Water CS Simon Chelugui said there is a need to increase investment in the water sector if the country is to achieve improved water coverage and sanitation.

 

“We will achieve universal coverage close to 2030 with more investments,” Chelugui said in his office.

Heavy rain has been pounding various counties since the onset of the short rains season in early October.

The rains led to riverine and flash floods, rock falls, mudslides and landslides. 

The raging waters were however not harvested.

This is despite Kenya being considered as a water-scarce country, with a per capita water availability of less than 600 cubic metres, below the global threshold of 1,000 cubic metres per capita.

According to the Water Services Regulatory Board performance report for the financial year, 2017-18, a lot needs to be done if Kenya is to increase her water coverage and sanitation.

The Wasrep report showed that water coverage had slightly increased from 55 per cent the previous year to 57 per cent in 2017-2018.

 
 

Drinking-water quality, improved slightly from 94 per cent to 95 per cent while hours of supply reduced from 14 per day to 13 hours.

Non-revenue water dropped from 42 per cent to 41 per cent. Non-revenue water is water that has been produced and is lost before it reaches the customer.

Kenya loses Sh7.8 billion to non-revenue water annually.

Part of the water loss is as a result of ageing pipelines.

Currently, non-revenue water accounts for 41 per cent while the acceptable standards are 25 per cent.

Despite efforts by utilities to contain losses, levels of non-revenue water have remained stagnant between 41 per cent and 47 per cent for the last 10 years.

The report shows that the metering ratio increased from 93 per cent to 95 per cent.

Personnel expenditure as operation and maintenance costs increased from 46 per cent to 50 percent.

Revenue collection efficiency, on the other hand, dropped from 100 per cent to 94 per cent.

Sanitation coverage stagnated at 16 per cent.

Vision 2030 sets a national target to ensure availability and access to improved water and sanitation to all by 2030.

Kenya, under Sustainable Development Goal 6, has committed itself to achieve by 2030 universal and equitable access to safe and affordable water for all; access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and an end to open defecation.

However, the resources for financing water infrastructure in the country are not enough. About Sh100 billion is needed per year.

However, the government can only provide about Sh50 billion.

Kenya’s population growing population will also complicate matters.

The population is projected to reach 67 million by 2030. Forty-six million Kenyans will be living in urban areas by then.

Chelugui said the government has rolled out the construction of various water projects in a bid to increase water coverage.

The Wasrep report shows that there was a reduction in reliability, which impacts on revenue collection.

The National Water Master Plan 2030 calls for improved self-financing and resilience of the sector, enhanced fund mobilisation as some of the ways universal coverage and sanitation can be enhanced.

Government’s priority is to improve access to sewerage in urban areas to 40 per cent by the year 2022 and to 80 per cent by the year 2030. 

Wasrep accessed utilities using water coverage, drinking water quality, hours of supply, non-revenue water reduction, and metering ratio.

The others are staff productivity, revenue collection efficiency, operation and maintenance cost coverage and personnel expenditure.