Water access and sustainable rural livelihoods: A c ase of Elementaita Division in Nakuru County, Kenya
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This study assessed water factors that impact susta inable rural livelihoods in Elementaita Division, N akuru County. Problem of water access remains a multi-million cha llenge for families in rural areas and this had to be explained in scientific research through assessing water issues that affect the livelihoods. Households remain far from water projects despite interventions that governments, NGOs and other agen cies have put in place. The study had the following objectives; assess water access factors and its impact on sustainable rural livelihoods, evaluate management of water projects and determine how it impacts on sustainable livelihoods and to determin e how socio-economic factors of water impact rural livelihoods in Elementaita Division. The study used sustainable li velihood framework in its analysis and establishing what areas of interventions would be considered for the study. Th is includes looking at assets, capital, livelihood strategies, institutional processes and vulnerability context. This was a des criptive survey and questionnaires were generated o n related areas of study. Sampling for household was carried out through syst ematic sampling. The study targeted a sample 195 ho usehold heads, 1 water users association also a Key Informant Interview (K II) was carried out with District Water Officer (DW O) and District Public Health Officer (DPHO). Data was carried collected u sing questionnaires, interviews and supplemented th rough secondary data. Data was analysed using inferential statistics by u se of descriptive statistics. The findings were pre sented in tables using tables. From the findings water availability, quality and a ffordability determine the level of households asse ts in the community thereby impact negatively or positively. Over 98% of the re spondents reported that children walk long distance s or do not attend school in order to fetch water for the households, this impac t negatively on their mental and physical developme nt as well as their education. There is need to carry out awareness on the implication of using water of poor quality in t he community as it may have adverse health effects on the lives of the communit y. Increasing awareness levels on rain water harves ting by the community need to be enhanced to improve on quality of water. Parents should also ensure that their children acc ess education and not engage in child labour. The findings and recommenda tions of the study are important to Ministry of Wat er, researchers, all stakeholders and the community of Elementaita Divis ion and Nakuru County in enhancing water access and addressing some of the challenges identified.