The Kenyan water sector underwent far-reaching reforms through the Water Act No. 8 of 2002. Previously service provision had been the responsibility of a single National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation as well as of a few local utilities established since 1996. After the passage of the act service provision was gradually decentralised to 117 Water Service Providers (WSPs).
These are linked to 8 regional Water Services Boards (WSBs) in charge of asset management through Service Provision Agreements (SPAs). The Act also created a national regulatory board (WASREB) that carries out performance benchmarking and is in charge of approving SPAs and tariff adjustments. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is in charge of policies for water supply and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation is in charge of policies for sanitation.
The Government’s long-term objective is to ensure that all Kenyans have access to clean potable water, and that water is available for key economic activities. In addition, it recognises that for the country to meet its poverty-eradication strategies and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), water has to be made available, accessible and affordable, especially to the poor. This is based on the fact that all the eight MDGs are directly or indirectly related to access to water.
Water supply and sanitation in Kenya is characterised by low levels of access, in particular in urban slums and inrural areas, as well as poor service quality in the form of intermittent water supply. Only 9 out of 55 water service providers in Kenya provide continuous water supply.Seasonal and regional water scarcity exacerbates the difficulty to improve water supply
The water sector in Kenya has been summarized to include the following.