Analysis of household water demand, distribution and community management strategies in Nyangores subcatchment, Bomet County, Kenya
Cheruiyot, Koech John
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Access to quality water remains a key indicator of an improved social and economic life of any community. Due to an increasing human population, changes in land use activities and climate variability, Nyangores Basin in Kenya has been under pressure and for this reason, availability and access to quality and sufficient quantity of water has been adversely affected. Despite government plans to ensure all households access piped water; this has not been achieved as coverage is still very low. The main cause of lack of access to quality water from improved sources for household use is unclear. In addition, household access, distribution and management of improved water demand including rural water supply coverage and maintenance of water distribution systems in the basin is not documented. The objectives of this study were to determine the magnitude of household water demand, identify key factors that influence the magnitude of water demand and distribution and to examine the effectiveness of the current water use management strategies in Nyangores sub-catchment. The study employed descriptive statistics based on survey responses from a total of 300 households picked from Silibwet, Bomet and Sigor divisions. Household level data was supplemented with key informant interviews of 20 professionals from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Water Service Board and WRMA officials. The study also relied on secondary data from the National Housing and Population Census report and the meter reading reports at the District offices. Data was entered, coded and analysed using SPSS version 19 and Ms-excel. Results indicate that income, household size and distance from homesteads to water sources are major determinants of domestic water demand. Human population has been growing rapidly and is putting a lot of pressure on available water resources, whose quality has greatly deteriorated due to intensified human activities such as agriculture and livestock production. The current mean water demand stands at 9,745 m3 per day, which is largely met by unsafe water sources. Women and girls bear the greatest brunt of water related access constraints because they spent a lot of time fetching water and this also exposes them to health and safety risks. The expansion of piped water supply is slow with only 5.3% coverage since 2003. The community water use management strategies are below 30% and UfW is 53.77% up from a benchmark of 25%. Non-payment of water bills is increasing at the rate of 4 % per month. Management strategies currently employed include rationing, public education on efficient water use while metering, pricing and enforcement of legislation on water governance are employed on a limited extent. The study recommends the county and national governments to promote watershed and basin protection, harnessing of underground water resources and investment in more rain water harvesting infrastructure to reduce reliance on rivers. It is important to promote efficient use of water by the local community, promote growth of non-agricultural income generating activities to create effective demand for water and aim to supply safe water to within a radius of 200 metres from homes.