Innovation key to scaling up water supply
One of the pivotal economic sectors where water is used extensively is agriculture which uses up to 70 per cent of the world’s exploitable water resources particularly for irrigation.
Closely related to this is the amount of water used in food production.
Similarly in the manufacturing sector, water is used in almost every phase of the production process from the extraction of raw materials to disposal and reuse of the products.
Water is also the key driver of sectors such as energy production and transportation among others.
Kenya understands the important role the water sector plays towards economic development and as a country, has set lofty goals of attaining universal coverage by 2030 to meet both the sustainable development goals and the Vision 2030 targets.
However, water coverage in the country currently stands at 55 per cent indicating that a staggering 21 million Kenyans, approximately 45 per cent of the population, lack access to clean and safe drinking water.
The sector is also experiencing inherent resource allocation deficiencies because the Kenyan government can only meet 10 per cent of the investment demand.
Water infrastructure in the country remains outdated and largely dilapidated as majority of it was constructed during the colonial era.
Functionality, particularly for rural water systems, is an issue due to poor management and lack of technical know-how.
The sector can build resilience to adverse climatic events through using adaptive planning in infrastructure development and increasing investments in strategic water reserves as well as rain and floodwater harvesting.
The Kenyan water sector also lags behind in adopting the use of innovative technologies.
If the Kenyan water sector is truly committed to achieving universal coverage by 2030 then the status quo must be disrupted to usher in new and innovative methods of water service delivery.