Water supply and delivery problems in Kiteta location of Makueni district
Mathuva, Joseph M
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Problems of remoteness, difficulties in obtaining water, maintenance of schemes and unreliability in flow are common issues in water supply systems. Where improved supplies are far or inaccessible to the users, traditional outlets which are often polluted become the dependable sources of water. Thus health benefits resulting from these supplies are often lost or just accrue to the minority. Kiteta location is faced by an acute water problem. Many activities are inadequately performed due to the limitations arising from this state. Other activities have to utilize very minimal quantities depending on the distance and source of supply. Numerous traditional sources exist in the villages. Many of these sources are comparatively convenient in distance and time. Although data on water supply in Kiteta is sketchy, not more than a seventh and probably far less of the population has water through reliable connections. About 4.3% of the consumers draw water from communal-taps. Therefore, a high proportion of the user-population utilize waters of poor quality. The situation has no improved much with implementation of rural water supply programme in Kenya as early as late 1960s. The current service region of the water schemes in Kiteta is, therefore, small and falls below the designed capacities. Safe water does not flow as expected and therefore, the operational difficulties make it hard for the supplies to carter adequately within the few areas served. About 80% of the areas user-units therefore have to use waters from traditional outlets whose quality is questionable. Much of the population therefore suffer from various water related diseases. The same outlets depict a cross-section of various categories of carrying distances ranging from less than a kilometre to six kilometres. For the supplied areas, although the community's and institutional willingness to support the water schemes IS a measure of sustainability, their performance is very poor. The community is almost unwilling to support them while the operating institutions are certainly weak. As a result, these water schemes are decaying due to absenteeism of adequate attention. To correct this situation, there is need to strengthen the supportive institutions and sensitise the community about its role in management-and operation. To ensure improved supply and reasonable accessibility, practical action is required. There is need to address the issue from a regional view. The weak areas need to be strengthened and understand the role of rural supply in the national context and its relation economic development. The study has found it justifiable for the implementation of the MIDP Position Paper proposals on rural water supply. This would improve the quantity available and remove some of the rampant bottlenecks to development in the area.