Water sector stakeholders have been asked to address governance and management issues in water provision bodies to improve water service delivery to Kenyans.
The stakeholders, meeting in Isiolo for a conference themed “Addressing governance and sustainability of rural water management”, have promised to deal with management challenges in established water boards to increase access to clean and safe drinking water for Kenyans.
Speaking at the conference, Kenya Markets Trust’s Portfolio Director, Mr. Ali Hassan said “Rural water supply coverage in Kenya stands at a meagre 51% and at any given time almost one third of rural-water utilities are dysfunctional.. This has been largely attributed to the lack of managerial capacity required to competently run these systems viably”. Ali Hassan asked the stakeholders to take up innovative service delivery models to address these challenges in the water sector.
Organized by Kenya Markets Trust in conjunction with SNV and Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF), the conference helped key stakeholders in the water sector to find ways of improving consistent water services in the rural areas.
The Water Services Trust Fund presented five service delivery models to the delegates, from which water services providers can choose a suitable one for their region. The models presented where: –
- Delegated Management Model (DMM), an approach where a Water Service Provider (WSP) assigns to a smaller operator all its water service delivery functions (operations, maintenance and revenue collection). The model is guided where a larger WSP exists but is not able to efficiently and effectively serve all its constituents within its mandated area of supply.
- Lease Operator (LO), which is a management approach where an operator (leaseholder) takes full responsibility in operating and maintaining existing infrastructure in a water project and provide minor investments for a contractual period of between 5 -10 years.
- Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Service Contract, a model whereby the County Government contracts a private enterprise to provide operations and maintenance support (preventive, corrective and reactive maintenance) of water assets on their behalf, often on an annual basis.
- Private Operator (PO) or Co-management model, a management approach whereby a private party, in this case a legally registered enterprise, is contracted to provide all the technical and operational expertise required to successfully run a water supply system on a day to day basis for a period of 3-5 years.
- Professional Management (PM) model, an approach where appointed community officials recruit competent professionals to undertake day to day operations of the water utilities and the WUA performs an oversight role and provides strategic guidance to staff under a clear governance system.
Speaking at the conference, David Thiong’o of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation noted that Kenya has done quite a good job in terms of investment in the water sector, but we haven’t focused more on governance to improve coverage. “If we do not address governance of water utilities, we may not achieve the goal of access to water for all. Community water projects may become a cash cow for a few people if governance is not addressed”, said Mr. Thiong’o.
According to the Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB) Impact report 8, only 55% of the Kenyan population have access to clean and safe drinking water due to lack of adequate water sources coupled with gross inefficiencies in water service provision.