Kenyans risk shortfall in water supply due to urban population explosion


Kenya's Kibera Slum Urbanization Population Growth Photo Courtesy

More Kenyans risk facing a shortfall in water supply due to urban population explosion and environmental impacts on water systems and infrastructure.

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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programme estimates that 59 per cent of Kenyans already don’t have access to clean water and slightly less than 29 per cent lack proper sanitation.

The UN projects say at the current rate of drought and environmental stress placed on water, that by 2050 and at current trends, one in four people will have scarcity of clean water access.

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According to Reckitt General Manager Sachin Varma, the country’s solution to equitable access to clean water and sanitation lies in tackling both population pressure and climate change.

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The two factors if unaddressed by all stakeholders could exert more pressure on already strained water infrastructure and could erode gains made towards achieving equitable access to clean water and sanitation in the country.

“The environmental impacts of changes that causes water stress will continue putting more pressure on this and therefore we need to continue to work on this to achieve the goal of ensuring all Kenyans have equitable access to clean water and sanitation,” said Varma.

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Reckitt says environmental factors are driving Kenya into greater water stress levels, either through deforestation and drought expansion making the environment a big contributor to poor access to water and sanitation.

“Impact of water and sanitation in Kenya places a huge strain on our people and the economy driven by resulting implications on ill health, increased poverty and low productivity,” said Varma.

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Reports show that 21 Million Kenyans have no access to safe and clean water and sanitation, estimated to cost the country Ksh 27 billion annually.

“Having access to clean water will reduce healthcare stress, reduced poverty levels and improved rate of productivity. This requires investment in infrastructure for water, sanitation and hygiene practices and education,” he said.

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