The provision of water services is entering a critical phase with the implementation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. On the one hand the government is required to ensure progressive realization of the right to water and sanitation services, while the devolved governments take over the driver’s seat in service provision. It is worthwhile noting that big gains have been made in the provision of services since the implementation of the reforms
The positive trend depicted by the 24 Water Service Providers (WSPs) who have submitted data for the last seven years is particularly encouraging, considering that their coverage is currently at 71% for water and 72% for sanitation. Looking at the urban overall sector performance, however, the realization of national targets still remains a challenge for water with the current projections giving coverage of 59% by 2015, which is 21 percentage points off the national target of 80%.
Looking back over the last eight years, it can be seen that the growth in resources has not been matched by a corresponding growth in access. Improving access therefore calls for more than the creation of institutions and the provision of resources. It should include a change in attitudes, managerial practices and organizational capacities.
It is therefore imperative that as we create institutions, we should also ensure that their objectives are in line with the needs and aspirations of the sector. The recognition of the human right to water and sanitation in the constitution implies that investments and financing plans have to be aligned towards the progressive realization of this right.
WSPs, as duty bearers on behalf of the government, need to reinforce their efforts to extend services to currently underserved urban low-income areas (LIAs) to effectively leverage their investments in terms of impact. The Water Regulation Information System (WARIS) has been refined to help in this aspect. Further, Wasreb is exploring how this information can feed into standalone pro-poor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which can then be included in the performance ranking of WSPs. While compliance to corporate governance has improved with only two utilities still refusing to comply with the conditions of the regulator, this vi Impact Report 2013 compliance should now translate to improvement in performance.
If there is one lesson that we carried forward from the reforms, it is the fact that commercialization, if well managed, can translate to improvement of services. This sixth edition of Impact covers the period 2011/12 and analyses the performance of a total of 102 Water Service Providers (66 of them urban and 36 rural), and eight Water Services Boards. The overall population in the service areas of the WSPs is roughly 20.6 million, with 17.8 million in the service areas of urban WSPs and 2.8 million in the service areas of rural WSPs.