- Category: News and Highlights
KIPPRA in conjunction with Environment for Development and University of Nairobi held the water policy day workshop on October 27, 2014 at Sarova Panafric Hotel. The workshop was graced by the Deputy Director of Water Services from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (MEWNR). Participants were drawn from KIPPRA, Water Service Regulatory Board, Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, Water Service Providers Association, Water Resources Management Authority, Association of Water Resource Users, National Irrigation Board, World Bank, University of Nairobi, Environment for Development, Athi Water Service Board among others.
During the workshop four main areas were discussed including: global developments on water policy, increasing block tariffs and the relationship with income and water use in Kenya, water sourcing in rural Kenya and water policy direction in Kenya. Funding for water and sanitation has been shrinking globally and water utilities around the world are broke, heavily subsidized and it is increasingly becoming difficult to provide and maintain water services. Water related mortality rates in sub Saharan Africa are on an increasing trend, contrary to other continents.
Increasing block tariffs (IBT) is not unique to Kenya and the subsidy associated with IBT is not pro-poor. Rural population in Kenya has multiple sources of water and is willing to change to safer and healthier sources of water which will reduce the distance of walking to the water source as well as waiting time and conflicts. However, the price of water should be affordable. Water is one of the devolved functions and is a social and economic human right in Kenya. This comes with opportunities and challenges that require sobriety in role playing, service delivery, infrastructure development and resource management. Since the Water Bill (2014) is at the second reading stage in the National Assembly, it is expected to offer policy direction.
The water sector is faced with challenges including low access to clean and safe drinking water, low sewerage coverage, inefficiency of utilities, destruction of water catchment areas, increased competition/conflicts in natural resource utilization, pollution, poor waste management, and water scarcity, among others. Going forward, these challenges, among others, need to be addressed by building synergies among stakeholders who include regulatory bodies, service providers, researchers, development partners and the communities.