Scarcity is the main water-related challenge of many regions in Kenya. Water availability depends on the quantity of water, its quality as well as the timely and affordable access to an efficient service.
Global warming has an impact on water availability. Roughly, for each additional degree that the temperature increases, 7% more of the world population will have at least 20% less water at their disposal (IPCC 2014). Moreover, as population increases, so will water demand for all uses. It is estimated that by 2030, 80% of the global population will live in water scarcity. Currently due to the failed rains there has been a shortage of water and this can be seen through the pronounced water shortage that has been experienced in Nairobi and its environs for the past few months and seems to be getting worse.
Water quality is also affected both directly and indirectly by intense industrialization, population growth and the excessive use of fertilizers in agriculture. Around 85% of wastewater is discharged into the environment without any sort of treatment. Water pollution reduces the amount of water that is safe for human use.
Water management has been a challenge across the decades in Kenya. 41% of the Kenyan population do not have access to improved water sources. This is largely due to the fact that people perceive that water should be a service provided by the government for free. This has caused is a situation of unsustainable water institutions in the country due to lack or insufficient revenues from the provision of water in the country.
The shortage of water in Kenya is largely pronounced in the rural areas and largely in the arid and semi-arid areas. The availability of water in rural areas has also been one of the greatest challenges with water shortage affecting water for irrigation and for animal use. Find out how Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika is working towards water security, here.