An assessment of water sector reforms on attainement of the human right to water: the case of Lurambi Constituency, Kakamega County
Tsuma, Mathews C
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The United Nations popularized the concept of the human right to water by declaring 2003 as the World Water year. With the enactment of the Water Act 2002, Kenya embraced the human rights approach to water and sanitation. Prior to the reforms, the Ministry of Water was in charge of multiple roles including: policy formulation; financing; implementation; and regulation. The Water Act 2002 greatly introduced specialization by separating policy formulation; implementation and regulation roles and assigning them to specific institutions. This research project report assessed the progress made in attaining the human right to water since the enactment of the Water Act 2002 in Lurambi Constituency of Kakamega County. The purpose of the study was to assess the extent to which the human right to water has been achieved in Lurambi Constituency since the enactment of the water Act 2002. The objectives of the study were: To assess the water and sanitation governance practices of Western Water Company, to examine the influence of Lake Victoria North Water Services Board, to assess the contribution of Water Services Trust Fund, and to establish the influence of Water Resource User Associations on the attainment of the human right to water in Lurambi Constituency respectively. Descriptive survey research methodology with both quantitative and qualitative research designs was used due to the exploratory nature of the study. The study targeted 5662 urban and domestic water consumers with metered connections and 4 senior management staff of Western Water and Sanitation Company. The sample used was 156 persons based on Yamane Taro (1967) formula. The Senior Management Staff were selected using purposive sampling since they were best placed to provide information on the implementation of the water sector reforms in Lurambi Constituency. Water and sanitation respondents for the study were selected using systematic sampling. Primary data was collected by use of researcher administered questionnaires and interview schedules. Data collected was edited and categorized appropriately and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 12. Findings on water and sanitation governance practices of Western Water and Sanitation Company showed that economic efficiency is prioritized over social objectives. The study established that the organizational structure of Western Water and Sanitation Company was not suitable, while Lake Victoria North Water Services Board had done little to enhance public participation, accountability and affordability of water and sanitation services. Also, the study established that the board was prioritizing access rather than affordability to water and sanitation services. Findings on Water Services Trust Fund showed that investment in pro-poor water and sanitation infrastructure is a sustainable way of up-scaling access to safe and clean water and sanitation services for the disadvantaged populations. Further, the study established that Water Resource User Associations are instrumental in water monitoring and information gathering. The study made the following recommendations: the need for restructuring Western Water and Sanitation Company for enhanced performance, the need for water utility company to prioritize both economic and social objectives, the need for Lake Victoria North Water Services Board to invest in water resources management information systems to enhance accountability and transparency in its dealings. The study also recommended that Lake Victoria North Water Service Board should adopt measures that enhance both access and affordability of water and sanitation services. Further there is need to introduce water and sanitation pro-poor taxes and the need to empower Water Resource User Associations to handle water and sanitation issues within their areas. The study concluded that the human right to water in Lurambi Constituency has not been achieved because it is a process which has been affected by resource and governance inadequacies of the water service provider.