Calvince O. Onditi


Access to water has been a major challenge, with about 43% of people in Kenya lacking access

to clean and safe water (JMP, 2008). The Kenya‟s available annual water per capita is 792 m³,

which falls below the threshold of 1000m³. Therefore, Kenya is a water scarce country. Since

independence, Kenyan water sector has been blighted by prevailing politics and corruption,

natural environment degradation and the rapid population growth. This has left the communities

at the grassroots level and the peri-urban population grappling with acute water shortage as a

direct result of the water sector failures.

Community water organisation started when the need for water by the poor people was not met

by the government. Community-management of water started in Kenya in 1980s and about 30%

of rural water schemes have been set up by CBOs and NGOs. The Water Act of 2002, part of

Kenya Water Sector Reforms, also recognized the community involvement in water supply and

management with the establishment of WSTF and the community Project Cycle, to boost water

Users/CBOs by offering grants to develop and expand their water projects.

Therefore, it follows that Community Water Supply Management is an important concept and

this project was to study the management aspects of the water CBOs with a case study of NWSA

in Migori County. Started in 1989 and inaugurated in 1994, NWSA has provided water for over

two decades to the Nyasare rural population and the Migori town. NWSA serves about 30,000

people currently. Nyasare area have been suffering from acute water shortage with water borne

diseases when the community initiated the project under the auspices of their local church leader

and the Austrian Development Agency as a Donor to the project. This has reduced the water

problem issues in the rural Nyasare and part of Migori town population.

NWSA is well managed with the Assembly at the helm of governance and the management

committee running the Association on the daily basis. The Assembly elects the board and also

engages it in AGM discussing fiscal issues, approving NWSA plans and activities. The

Assembly acts as a check and balance for the community. The management committee consists

of the Executive Committee, the Zonal Representatives, Management Staff and the grassroots‟

management that manages water outlets, supervision of water treatment and the catchment area.

These are caretakers, water committees and the catchment committee.

Though NWSA has served the community for over two decades, the management has grappled

with enormous challenges that range from insufficient water supply, catchment area degradation

by the community, infrastructural vandalisms, unpaid water bills, water quality issues, incapacity

to expand water facilities to meet the growing demand and lack of finances to operate effectively

and efficiently.

This project established that community water supply management is a vital aspect to foster

development and empower the community. Even though the water act recognized this

management aspect, clear guidelines are not provided on how to go about the management. This

project engaged in the technical aspect of management organisation, operation and maintenance

of water supplies by CBOs as it is only the sound and efficient management that can enable

efficiency and sustainability of water supply in rural areas and the per-urban communities.

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