Determinants Of Sustainability Of Community Water Projects In Kieni East District, Nyeri County
Access to safe and sufficient water is essential for the sustenance of human well being and is a basic human need. Meeting basic human needs is an equity requirement. Statistics reveal that about 17 millions Kenyans, 43% of the population, do not access to safe drinking water. In quest to meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, the Government of Kenya and other development agencies have partnered with the community with a common goal of enhancing access to safe and adequate water supply. Despite the numerous projects in Kieni East District, water scarcity has remained a big issue in this area. In this regard, the study purposed to investigate the determinants of sustainability of community water projects in the area with a focus on water resources conservation practices, project management strategies, community participation and community training and education. However, there is limited information on this subject as limited studies’ have been carried out in Kieni East District of Nyeri County. The study targeted a population size of 10,443 household consumers, 72 executive committees’ members of the community managed water projects and two Government Water Officers. Descriptive survey design was employed to gather information from a sample size of 250 respondents. Representative sample units were selected using purposive sampling technique and Cochran formulae. Questionnaires and interview guide were used to collect data from the sampled stakeholders. Raw data was organized, edited, coded and analysed for descriptive and inferential statistics using computer software, Statistical Package for Social Sciences and presented using frequency distribution, percentages and tables. With regards to water resources conservation practices, study findings established a high participation level of 80% in conserving the water resources with 63% indicating storage reservoirs as water conservation measures and 4% indicating fencing to protect the water sources. Findings also established a positive and significant correlation between the level of water conservation practices and water sources reliability after obtaining a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.426 at 0.01 significance interval. Study findings also established that community members’ participation level in conception, design and implementation of the water projects was rated good at 70%. More findings established that the source of funding the water projects through community contributions and Government or donors funding was at 83% and 17% respectively. A majority of 88% community members’ indicated that they were responsible for operations and maintenances of their water projects and were committed to making regular contributions. Findings also established that 80% community organizations had clear goals and objectives and were guided in their activities and development plans while clear definition of functional responsibilities of committee members was rated at 75%. Technical knowledge and skills of the project operator was rated at 62%. With regards to community training and education, findings established community trainings on operations and maintenances at 83% with 79% members receiving between 1 – 5 trainings. Technical skills were however found lacking among community members for the community only funded water projects. It is recommended that sensitization among community members on water resources conservation practices should be carried out to enhance reliability of the water sources. The study also recommends community participation during project’s conception, design and implementation. It is also recommended that project management strategies should be integrated in the water project’s long term plans in order to enhance long term benefits as well as community training and education in order to build adequate capacity among committee members. The study findings will benefit the Government, water project financiers and water users in realizing long term goals of new and existing water projects.