The effects of household water-user preference on water security in Obunga Slums of Kisumu Municipality, Kenya.
Ongere, Elisha Dickson
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Most of the world's water (about 97.5%) exists as salt water in the oceans and seas. Of the world's 2.5 per cent of fresh water, roughly 99 per cent is either trapped in glaciers and ice caps, held as soil moisture, or located in water tables too deep to access. Only about one percent of the total freshwater supply is available for consumption by humans, animals, agriculture and industrial use. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of household water-user preference on water security in Obunga slums in Kisumu Municipality, with specific objectives being the investigation of the effects of the preferences for water use in gardens, laundry and toilets, washing, direct heating system, drinking, cooking, and personal washing, on the access, availability, quality and sustainable supply of water among households in the slums. The study adopted Ex post facto research design on a target population of 2,507 households from the four administrative units in Obunga slums, whereby through stratified sampling technique 331 respondents were sampled using questionnaire administration. Purposive sampling method was used to select 3 key informants for key informant interview using interview guides. Qualitative data obtained from personal interviews and open-ended questions were analyzed qualitatively through content analysis and organized into themes and pattems corresponding to the research questions, while quantitative data on background information of respondents and study variables were analyzed by the use of statistical packages for social sciences (SPSS), and presented in tables and percentages. The study found that most households in Obunga slums do not have good water-user preference, and this affect water security, thereby causing water stress and the use of contaminated water. The findings were: (i) household water-user preference in the slums is not dependent on the access to water, (ii) household water-user preference in the slums is not dependent on the availability of water; (iii) household water-user preference in the slums is dependent on the quality of water; (iv) household water-user preference in the slums is dependent on the sustainable supply of water, and (v) the household water-user preference is not dependent on water security in Obunga slums. The researcher concluded that household water user preference does not affect water security in Obunga slums: lo = 19.659> X2 c(4, .05) = 9.488. Hence, the way water is used does not depend on, and do not affect the households' access to water, availability of water, quality of water and sustainable supply of water. The study recommends that access to water in the slums be improved through more connections to the utility supply and sinking of boreholes; availability of water be improved through pumping of enough water into the systems to the slums; quality of water be enhanced through extension of water treatment services to private providers, and sustainable supply of water be improved through training of the residents on water storage and recycling practices. The researcher further recommends that studies be done on the influence of household water-user preference on water security of households in the entire Kisumu municipality and the influence of household water-user preference in Tom Mboya up market estate on the water security of households in Obunga slums in within Kisumu Municipality.