Survey reveals access to clean water in Kenya declines

A report, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Kenya, by Twaweza East Africa that was released earlier this week indicated a steady decrease in levels of access to clean water in Kenya today.

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Urban areas are the most affected dropping from around 90 % in 1990 to about 78 % today.

This had been attributed to high rate of population growth in Kenya’s towns and cities without parallel infrastructural development to keep pace with the rapid population growth in urban areas.

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However, the report indicated that there has been a steady improvement in access to clean and safe water in Kenya where at least two-thirds or 68 % of Kenyans get their water from an improved water source, that is, piped water, protected wells and springs, and rain water.

In rural areas, this access had improved from 37 % in 2009 to 62 % or six in ten households in 2015. However, a clear link between wealth and access to clean and safe water persists with 87 % of the richest households having access compared to only 48 % of the poorest households.

The report revealed that the task of collecting water was borne primarily by women and children in over nine in ten households with the figures almost similar in both rural and urban areas. Moreover, the distance to water points, insufficient numbers of water points and irregular supply still remain a big challenge.

Majority of households in urban areas, 78 %, were able to collect water within 30 minutes, while only 12 % spent an hour or more. This is strikingly different in rural Kenya, where the time spent collecting water was much longer with 26 % spending an hour or more ,20 % spend between 30 and 60 minutes while slightly more than half are able to get their water within a 30-minute period.

According to the survey done between November 5th and 28th last year, 65 % of Kenyan households reported treating their water before drinking with boiling water and use of chemical disinfectants.

The 35 % who did not treat their water said that the water was either safe for drinking or they lacked resources to do so.

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