Our Focus on Water

Why We Focus On Water

The supply of reliable and sufficient quantity and quality water is a fundamental building block for a country’s economic and social development

Kenya’s water sector remains in transition following the devolution reforms as county governments have assumed responsibility for water service delivery. 88 regulated water service providers operate a combined service area of 22 million people, equivalent to 46% of Kenya’s estimated 48 million people. However, self-reported data suggests that these utilities currently provide water to only 12 million of the 22 million people in their service areas.

Sector At A Glance

The Sector

Only 55% of Kenyans have access to clean and safe drinking water
  • Water
  • Others

The water supply sub-sector contributes approximately 0.7% of the GDP.

The water supply sub-sector is a source of direct employment for over 200,000 people

As well as individuals entrepreneurs (masons, plumbers, technicians) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Per capita available water is about 647m cubic per year against a global benchmark of 1000m cubic per year. Future projections show that by 2030, per capita water availability will drop to 475 m cubic per year as a result of population growth.

The Market

  • Continuous Water
  • Not Continuous

Only 44% Water service providers in Kenya provide continuous water supply as of 2012/2013.

Urban water tariffs are high by regional standards (US$ 0.46 per m cubic on average in 2007)

Although urban water tariffs are high by regional standards (US$ 0.46 per m cubic on average in 2007) the level of cost recovery is low due to a high level of non revenue water( Average of 42%) and high cost.

Dynamics Of The Sector

General Supply Trends

In Kenya, water coverage stands at 54% for urban and  51% for rural

At the current annual growth averaging 1% attaining both vision 2030(100%) and the SDG(100%) targets looks beyond reach

  • Covered
  • Not Covered

In Kenya, water coverage stands at 54% for urban areas.

  • Covered
  • Not Covered

In Kenya, water coverage stands at 51% for rural areas.

Water Access Via Formal Utilities

In 29 of the counties, more than 50% of the population lives outside areas served by formal utilities.

There are 91 water utilities under WASREEB regulation

of which 19% are in very large category, 8% in medium size category, 45% in large category and 28% in small category.

  • Very Large
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Small

11.4 Billion Lost Annually

Due to inefficiency at utility level, the country loses 42% of water drawn from the sources, resulting into a net loss of Ksh. 11.4 billion annually.

Ksh. 100B

Kenya needs Ksh. 100 billion annually so it can achieve the universal access to water and sanitation to all by 2030.

General Demand Trends

Water Coverage In Urban Areas

  • Have Access
  • No Access

In Kenya, the water coverage level in urban areas currently stands at 54%, which implies that despite the increase in people served; demand continues to increase driven mainly by the increase population and the high rate of urbanization.

GDP of US$99.246 Billion & Per Capita GDP of $2,010

As of 2019Kenya had an estimated GDP of $99.246 billion and per capita GDP of $2,010 making it the 62nd largest economy in the world. Kenya is considered a middle income nation.

Key Sector Challenges

Water Provision

Water provision at utility level is shrouded by numerous inefficiencies which hamper effective services delivery.

Lack Of Data

There is chronic lack of data from rural areas to measure performance output and set the sector on the right growth trajectory.

Unreliability Of Supply

Reliance on voluntary water users associations in rural areas has resulted in high unreliability of services. During service breakdown, poor people buy water either from expensive water vendors or travel long distances to collect water from rivers, wells, and ponds.

Limited Management Skills

Limited management skills and non-adoption of contemporary management tools and knowledge contribute to continued inefficiencies in the sector.

What Are Our Interventions?

Service Delivery Models

To inspire emergence and adoption of service delivery models for water utilities.

B2B Linkage

To facilitate B2B linkage for climate smart, ICT, green financing and technological innovation.

Services Expansion

To catalyze market-led approach for “base-of-pyramid” services expansion.

Water Utilities

To facilitate the management of non-revenue water in water utilities.

Systemic Change Indicators


of Kenyans to have access to clean and safe drinking water.

Learn About Our Work in the Water Sector

KMT Case Study

The Journey of Changing Water Services Delivery in Kenya

Other Focus Areas

Our Research

Facilitating markets through research for evidence-based interventions

Our Case Studies

Actual examples of how our work is making a change

Our Blog

Opinion pieces and editorials on our work and related activities

Impact Stories

Stories from all over Kenya on how our work is impacting the lives of people

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A Dawn of a New Chapter for Kenya Markets Trust

After years of successfully working together as partners with a shared mission of transforming sectors in East Africa, Gatsby Africa, Kenya Markets Trust and Msingi East Africa have decided to integrate and become one entity as of April 01, 2022.

The new integrated entity will be called Gatsby Africa – a philanthropic entity of Lord David Sainsbury and will operate across six sectors in East Africa – Commercial Forestry, Aquaculture, Textiles and Apparel, Livestock, Agricultural Inputs, and Water.

We believe that the ambition and vision of the new organisation, coupled with the breadth of our portfolio, puts us in a strong position to deliver a meaningful level of impact for millions of people in the East African region. It equally strengthens our ability to generate and share our learning with others.

Coming together allows us to leverage the strengths of the three organisations, brings efficiency to how we work, and ensures we have a greater impact in our work.

What does this mean for the work that we have been passionately championing over the years? There will be no changes to the focus and modalities of how we work or our shared commitments – our three existing programmes will continue to operate in the same way they have always done.

We will be launching the new integrated Gatsby Africa organisation on April 01, 2022. By mid-April, we will share with you a link to our new website and official social media handles. However, we will retain our current website for a minimum period of six months, so that our knowledge materials are available to you. We shall be moving these over to our new website so that nothing will be lost.

As an organisation, we are excited about the opportunities that this integration brings for our people, partners and the sectors we work in. We are humbled by the collaboration and good working relationship we have had with all our different stakeholders and look forward to continuing working with you in the new organisation.