Factors Influencing Sustainability Of Community Managed Rural Water Supply Projects In Pastoralist Areas Of Kenya A Case Of Merti Sub County, Isiolo County
Sustainably managing water resources in pastoralist areas to ensure water availability throughout the year is considered to be central to unlocking the development potential of dry lands.Merti Sub County is such an area where few permanent rural water sources are facing long-term sustainability challenges in supporting the fragile pastoralist livelihoods. A study was done in the sub county to establish the factors influencing sustainability of community managed rural water supply projects in pastoralists’ areas. The study was deemed necessary in order to inform policy makers and implementers to develop actionable strategies for sustainable rural water supply management. The objectives of the study were to examine the influence of water regulatory policy, management committee competencies, pastoralist cultural aspects and technology adoption on sustainability of community managed rural water supply projects. The study used descriptive research design that entailed field surveys and cross-sectional research. The target population was 13,648 from six community managed water projects. A sample of 384 was determined for the study. Proportional quota sampling and purposive sampling techniques were used to select from the six water projects 54 management committee members whereas stratified random sampling technique was used to select 330 project user beneficiaries.Key informant for the study was the Merti sub county water officer. Data collection was by use of questionnaires and interviews schedules. Pilot of instruments was done in Isiolo Sub County. Questionnaires collected primary data from management committee members and the projects’ user beneficiaries whereas interview schedules collected information from key informant. Quantitative data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS V.20) and results presented in frequency distribution tables, percentages, cross-tabulations, correlation matrices and regression. Narrative analysis for qualitative data thematically linked the texts to the objectives and topic of the research hence giving the texts meaning and significance. The study findings indicated that in Merti Sub County, technology adoption was the best predictor for sustainability and a positive unit change in technology adoption improved sustainability by 0.352 units, followed by management committee competencies that indicated that any positive unit change on management committee competencies increased sustainability by 0.220 units. Water regulatory policy on its own had a low but significant positive relationship with sustainability but its influence greatly diminished in multivariate analysis of sustainability. Pastoralists’ cultural aspects did not to influence sustainability. The study concluded that water regulatory policy influence on sustainability of community managed rural water supply projects was very low due to communities’ unawareness of its contents to enable them to conform to policy requirements and applicability. Management committee competencies influence on sustainability was high if they had the requisite education and necessary skills for water project operations and management. Pastoralist cultural aspects did not interfere with rural water supply project management but limited women participation in water management. User-friendly technologies that communities found easy to operate and maintain, do not breakdown often, energy costs are low, technology skill requirement is not complex and above all the communities participate in its selection get easily adopted within the community and positively influences sustainability. The study recommends that County governments intensify awareness on water regulatory policy, continuously track progress on the management committee performances and enhance their capacities through trainings, develop user friendly technologies for water supplies such as solar systems, train community youth on technology skills requirements and engage them as community water project technicians and make it mandatory for women’s participation in water management committees through reserved key positions. Further research is suggested on case studies on simple sustainable rural water supply management models.
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