KMT Water Research

The Global Water Benchmarking Study For Kenya: Water Services Delivery

About This Study

Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) and Gatsby Africa (GA) undertook this study to capture examples of good practice from countries that have successfully transformed aspects of their water sector.

The purpose of the study is to provide a rich source of information for Kenyan water stakeholders to draw upon while developing strategies for strengthening Kenya’s water sector. The study will also inform KMT’s work and how we might bring new ideas and practical recommendations to our partnerships.

This study was undertaken between October 2020 and June 2021. Led by KMT and Gatsby, the study was supported by Aguaconsult, a leading international water consultancy with experience in Africa, South America and Asia. The project team included experts in urban and rural water service delivery and water resources management and called on additional experts with knowledge of the case study countries and specific themes such as sector financing.

KMT provided valuable input to the methodology and country selection led the engagement with sector stakeholders and donors and provided feedback and input into the country analysis and study reports.

Conceptual diagram showing the analytical framework used in the Water Benchmarking Study

Analytical framework used in the study

The framework used in this study considered the two main components, water service delivery and water resources management (WRM), as well as overarching governance that coordinates the two components and creates the enabling environment for the water sector as a whole. Important functions of the system, namely finance and data/ innovation, were also considered in the framework.

Acknowledgements

KMT would like to acknowledge the Kenyan water stakeholders for their involvement in the study, in particular for providing feedback on the specific issues to focus on and the country selection. This includes Kenya’s Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB), Water Resources Authority (WRA), Water Service Providers Association (WASPA), Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF) and Council of Governors (COG).

We thank Aguaconsult Ltd, the consultancy that undertook this study for KMT and the authors of this thematic report: Harold Lockwood and Dirk Schaefer.

Lastly, we wish to acknowledge Gatsby Africa, our partner and funder, who provided input into the study methodology and who continue to support our work in the water sector.

The study consists of 5 reports

3 thematic reports

Governance
Water Service Delivery
Water Resources Management

2 country case studies

Colombia
Republic of Korea

Introduction

As part of Kenya Market Trust’s (KMT) ongoing mission to catalyse the transformation of the Kenyan water sector, it commissioned an international study of countries that have successfully transformed parts or aspects of their water sectors.

Examples of good-practice and lessons from what has worked elsewhere will, it is hoped, provide useful insights as to how Kenya can continue to strengthen its water sector.

The Kenyan water sector

As part of Kenya Market Trust’s (KMT) ongoing mission to catalyse the transformation of the Kenyan water sector, it commissioned an international study of countries that have successfully transformed parts or aspects of their water sectors.

Examples of good-practice and lessons from what has worked elsewhere will, it is hoped, provide useful insights as to how Kenya can continue to strengthen its water sector.

Focus of the study

The purpose of the benchmarking study is to provide a rich source of information for Kenyan water stakeholders to draw upon while developing strategies for strengthening Kenya’s water sector. The study will also inform KMT’s work and how we might bring new ideas and practical recommendations to our partnerships and interventions.

Following consultation with key sector stakeholders in Kenya, it was agreed to focus on the two main sub-sectors of water service delivery and water resources management (WRM), which is the subject of a parallel report. For each of these two main reports, three thematic areas of interest have been identified as being of most relevance for Kenya in this benchmarking exercise:

Firstly, governance arrangements, both in terms of national intra-sectoral and intra-ministerial relations and the vertical integration between central and decentralised levels of government, particularly considering the strong devolution process in Kenya.

Secondly, experiences with investment planning undertaken in other countries particularly where these have been systematic in nature and looked at long-term costs required to sustain services, as well as the commensurate measures to generate financing, both from public sources through repayable financing as well as attracting private investments.

Lastly, examples where there have been successful innovations in the use of technologies and data production and – as importantly – the use of better data for improved decision making.

In consultation with Kenyan water stakeholders, 14 countries were selected for the benchmarking exercise, as outlined below:

Governance and Decentralisation

Along with technical capacity and financing, many of the most entrenched challenges in the water sector, at multiple levels, are related to governance and the political economy of decision-making. Governance influences many aspects of water service delivery from the equitable distribution of resources, sharing of data and information, accountability measures, financing and regulation. The OECD defines water governance as the “range of political, institutional and administrative rules, practices and processes (formal and informal) through which decisions are taken and implemented, stakeholders can articulate their interests and have their concerns considered, and decision makers are held accountable for water management” (OECD, 2015). More specifically, governance (and good governance) of water utilities means the removal of political influence over operators, managerial autonomy, the establishment of an independent board free from political bias, as well as ring-fenced revenues for reinvestment in the improvement of the utility and its internal systems (Soppe et al; 2018). Good governance matters at all levels, from utilities in the effective and efficient performance of service delivery, to policy and decision-making at the highest levels of government.

Finance and Investment Planning

Adequate sector financing is critical to sustainable water services. Financing is essential to cover investments, operation and maintenance costs, as well as support costs (i.e. building and sustaining institutional capacity, policy development, regulation and monitoring) and other key sector activities. In many countries, however, the water sector suffers from chronic underfunding. In addition, considering the limited funds often available to the sector, funds must be used in the most efficient manner, providing the most “bang for the buck” for investments that are carried out. To ensure maximum efficiency, sector financing should be based on clear national investment plans with identified priorities, including building institutional capacity and reaching poorer consumers. For countries with a decentralised governance system, this requires a functioning and participatory planning framework involving all levels of government.

This chapter on financing and investment planning contains 10 examples of global good-practice as summarised below.

Technological Innovation, Research and Use of Data

This chapter on technological innovation, research and use of data contains 5 examples of global good-practice as summarised below:

Key Lessons to Consider for the Kenyan Water Sector

The following provides a summary of the key lessons and insights from the various examples set out in the preceding three chapters as a resource for Kenyan water sector stakeholders as well as other parties interested in water sector strengthening. For convenience these are numbered in alignment with the original section headings and sub-headings.

Read the full study

The Global Water Benchmarking Study For Kenya

THEMATIC REPORT: WATER SERVICES DELIVERY

Format: PDF
Size: 2.3 MB

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