Determinants Of Sustainability Of Community Water Projects In Webuye East Sub-county, Bungoma, Kenya
Water is the most important natural resource and a basic human need. In many developing countries as a result of achieving the United Nations Millennium Goal 7c which targeted to reduce the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe water by 50% by year 2015, many Governments in partnership with the communities have invested money in construction and maintenance of the water projects. Despite the numerous water projects initiated, many have failed after a short time leading to unsustainable access to clean safe water. In order to make the investment in water projects more effective, failure rates of the water systems should be reduced. This study purposed to investigate determinants of sustainability of community water projects in Webuye East Sub-County, Bungoma, Kenya. The study was guided by the following objectives; to assess the extent to which water resources conservation practices, training, choice of technology and levels of funding influences sustainability of community water projects. The study employed descriptive survey design. The study targeted population size of 10,000 household users, 300 community water management committee executives and key informant from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. The sample size of this study was calculated using simplified Yamane formula (1967:886). The study employed both probability and non-probability sampling techniques. The researcher used questionnaires and interview schedule to collect data. Pilot study results were used to test reliability and validity of the instruments. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and correlation analysis by use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 and presented using frequency distribution, percentages, tables and Pearson product moment coefficients. With regards to water resources conservation practices, the study established a low community participation level of 36.2%. Findings revealed that afforestation was at 43.1%, pollution management and hygiene practices at 38.2% and management at 18.7%. The study established low level of training at 42.1% of which 38.5% were trained on conservation, 23.8% on management and 37.8% on Operation and Maintenance. The study also found out there are only two technologies used; use of hand pump (3.5%) and use of gravity fed pipes (96.5%). Community participation in choosing the technology was high at 90.3%. 97.1% of the community are conversant with the technology used while 2.9% are not conversant with hand pump technology introduced by the County Government. Findings show that spare parts are readily available but not affordable. It was also established that there is low level of funding, with the community contribution towards construction of the water projects highest at 96.5% while the County Government contribution was at 3.5%, only 16.8% contribute towards operation and maintenance of the water systems. Insufficient financing is a major factor in poor maintenance which leads to project failure. The study established that there is a positive correlation between sustainability of community water projects and water resources conservation practices, training, choice of technology and level of funding ( r=0.959, 0.821, 0.879 and 0.689 respectively)by using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation (PPMC) analysis. It is recommended that awareness creation on importance of water resources conservation and sensitization on water catchment areas should be done to enhance reliability of the water sources. Stakeholders should raise the level of awareness on available training opportunities regarding conservation, O & M and management to ensure the community is impacted with proper skills and knowledge that enhance water project sustainability. The community and the County Government should explore other modern technologies to pump water to households and train community on how to use the technologies. Prices for spare parts should be subsidized to be affordable. Lastly the County Government should increase level of funding for construction and maintenance of community water projects. The study findings will benefit the County Government, water project financiers and the community in achieving sustainable community water projects.
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