Public Private Partnetships in the Privatization of Water Service Delivery in Kenya
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The Government of Kenya has introduced several water reforms in the provision of water services since independence in 1963. The Local Government Act Chapter 165 of the laws of Kenya granted local authorities powers to engage in water services provision especially in urban areas (Republic of Kenya, 1986b). The Water Act of 2002 introduced far reaching reforms in the water sector in terms of management and provision services. It commercialized the provision of water services by forming Public Limited Companies (PLCs) owned by respective local authorities. It also allowed private sector participation in the provision of services. Individual companies and communities have also been permitted to seek license from Water Services Regulatory Board (WSRB) to provide water services to the public. Among the private sector actors are independent water service Providers in the form of community water projects, Private bore-holes, Water tankers, and Water kiosks. Community water projects request for funds for putting up water projects from a state organ known as Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF), hence the Public –Private Partnerships. The paper examines the effectiveness of the existing policy and institutional framework for the management of privatized water service delivery. The paper particularly examines institutional monitoring mechanisms in ensuring clean quality water is supplied to the unsuspecting poor. Are there clear mechanisms in which the public through the state institutions regulate the water service provision by private actors, as a requirement, before water is released to the public? How can the private sector be made accountable for offering public goods. The study has drawn its data from secondary data of randomly selected ten (10) independent water service providers registered under two of the eight (8) Water Service Boards (WSBs) in Kenya, namely, Rift Valley Water Service Board (RVVWSB), and Athi Water Service Board (AWSB). The data was drawn from the existing secondary data and was analyzed through content Analysis. The paper has utilized the World Bank framework for the provision of transaction intensive services as its analytical framework where water is taken as a transactionintensive service with ministry of Water Development and Irrigation being policy maker. Provider organizations include Water Resource Management authority (WRMA), Water Service Regulatory board (WSRB), and Water Service Boards (WSBs) as water providers. Water Service Providers (WSPs) are agents of WSBs. WSPs include PLCs registered by the respective local authorities, and independent ones including Community Water projects, and Water Kiosks. The paper is expected to among others, identify and explain some role overlaps between WRMA and WSBs since both can set water tariffs and there are weak institutional arrangements to monitor the effectiveness and efficiency in the operations of the independent water service providers.