Enhancing household water use efficiency and domestic rainwater harvesting potential in Nairobi county
Water is a finite resource without which life would be void. The world is grappling with the issue of clean water provision in the phase of rapid population growth and pollution of freshwater bodies due to human activities such as industrial growth. Inequitable access to water is more persistent in developing countries, more so, in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya as a country lacks mechanisms that will cushion it from the imminent scarcity that is recorded in the Kenya Vision 2030; amongst other documents. Nairobi being the most populated county in the country serves as a good reference point for the study on the efficiency of use of water at the household level. In this study, efficiency of use has been broken down into two components namely: the general utilization of water and water supply diversification (this includes rainwater harvesting, use of proper plumbing fittings, and gray water re-use). This study reports the efficiency of use as investigated at the household level and the possibility of diversifying supply, together with the costs and opportunities available in diversification. Both primary and secondary data were used in the actualization of this research. Primary data were collected through the use of questionnaires which were administered to respondents from two income clusters, that is, low and middle income households. The questionnaires were analyzed using SPSS and Microsoft Excel. Similarly, secondary data were collected from relevant organizations and analyzed using Microsoft Excel. The information obtained from the analysis has been presented through descriptive statistics incorporating tables and figures. The findings indicate that efficient water use is lacking. In addition, a lot of water from rain is being lost since there is no adequate infrastructure put up by developers to tap this water; this is made worse by the type of house tenure available to most residents in the city. The cost of water is also misleading to consumers since it is heavily subsidized. The cost of diversification to gray water and rainwater is very high. It is recommended that consumers need to be sensitized on efficient water utilization; moreover, there is need for research to further knowledge into better household water resource utilization. Rainwater should be harvested or fed into the water table. Finally, there is need for water prices to be harmonized in order to reflect the real cost of water.