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Establishing Viable Water and Wastewater Utilities in Kenya's Lake Victoria Watershed

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This paper describes the results of a water and wastewater feasibility study conducted for three towns in the Lake Victoria watershed of Kenya. Each town studied has a population of approximately 100,000 to 200,000 and all three are growing at rates sufficient to double their populations within 20 years. Deficiencies in water and wastewater infrastructure, operation, maintenance, and management combined with increasing rural-urban migration have resulted in decreased access to water and sanitation in many of Kenya's new urban centers over the past several decades, despite high service tariffs on the order of those paid in the United States. Many existing facilities no longer operate at design capacity and many previously served neighborhoods are no longer served. Record-keeping associated with water and wastewater infrastructure, including revenue collection, is generally inadequate. Water distribution systems lose more than half of their water to leaks and unmetered usage. These conditions give rise to an increased incidence of waterborne disease and decreased economic productivity.

The feasibility study describes how the passage of the 2002 Kenya Water Act has paved the way for real reforms in the water sector and outlines a program for addressing facility infrastructure needs, operations, maintenance, management, and financing in each study community within the context of this new regulatory environment. The study lays out a US $100 million program for meeting the 2015 water and wastewater Millennium Development Goals as well as long term needs through 2025 with average user fees set near the Kenyan average. The proposed program and a recommended implementation plan, including project financing, are discussed.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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