Challenges facing community based water supply projects in semi-arid regions of Kenya; the case of Samburu-Vigurungani water supply project in Kinango District, Kwale County
In spite of the efforts made by the various governments in Kenya, Non Governmental organizations and other developmental stakeholders, the water shortages in Kinango has been a challenge for the majority of residents not only in the rural areas but also in major urban centers, The government tried to alleviate this problem by digging pans and drilling boreholes. but failed due to salinity of the underground water and poor management of the pans. However in 2003, a new water-supply project was initiated by the community and given the name, 'The Samburu-Vigurungani water supply project.' A number of challenges have already been encountered in this project. These include lack of community participation in management, high poverty levels leading to inability to pay for water, political influence and socio cultural beliefs in household's water provision. This study was carried out within the project area. A descriptive case study design was used to collect primary data in addition to the secondary data. Questionnaires were administered to participants selected through proportionate sampling to ensure representation and stratification at all levels. One hundred project stakeholders were interviewed. The data collected was analyzed numerically and descriptively and is presented in the sum of text and tables. The study found out that there was lack of proper community participation in all the stages within the project life cycle, high poverty levels within the project area hinders revenue collections, inadequate awareness over the water sector reforms in rural areas with politics and socio-cultural ethics playing key roles within community based water supply projects. The study further concludes that the lack of adequate community participation in all the stages has led to lack of positive attention towards the challenges facing it. The high poverty levels within the semi arid regions of Kenya has also affected water supply development in these areas. The ministry of water and irrigation has however done enough and viable reforms in ensuring that local communities own and manage their rural water supply projects however there still exists a wide gap in awareness to these reforms within the Samburu Vigurungani water supply project. Despite the fact that there has been high political affiliation within this project, excessive political intervention within the project could lead to compromising corruption especially amongst key political supporters. Finally the study concluded that there has been negative socio cultural effects on the management and development of the project. The study recommends that there should be adequate sensitization and involvement of community in water supply projects. Poverty eradication programmes be initiated in the arid and semi-arid lands, while the Ministry of water and Irrigation should sensitize local communities over latest reforms. Politicians should play developmental politics to eradicate resource abuse in marginalized areas and positive socio cultural values.
University of Nairobi, Kenya