Assessing the impacts of urban growth on infrastructural facilities. Case study of Athi River, Mavoko

The purpose of this study was to examine the existing water supply and sanitation systems for
the growing population of a residential area in the fast growing industrial town of Mavoko, more
popularly known as Athi River. This was to gather information in order to conduct a needs
assessment and provide a starting point for potential water supply and sanitation improvement
projects. The work of previous researchers and scholars has documented a list of attempts at
improving problems in provision of infrastructure and services in urban areas. The background
of poor urban infrastructure has been attributed to uncontrolled increase in urban population
coupled with inability of local and central governments to continue with provision of water and
sanitation infrastructure. The outcome of this has been undesirable urban environments due to
expensive installation costs, running and maintenance costs. Other socio-economic needs then
take up all available resources. This necessitates this research project to look into provision of
basic services and facilities of water and sanitation.
The principal objectives of this research included to establish the current level and extent of
water provision and waste water facilities in the estate, to determine the notable effects that are
experienced as a result of increased population, to investigate the problems experienced with
water supply and sanitation, and to recommend approaches and measures to inform planning of
the current and upcoming developments in the estate.
The scope of the investigation was Mavoko Housing Estate, a residential estate in Mavoko
Municipality. The area has experienced rapid growth due to the location of the Export
Processing Zone and increased spatial development from the city of Nairobi.
The research methodology entailed collection of both primary and secondary data. Secondary
data was obtained through review of relevant literature and existing maps. Primary data
collection was obtained through administering questionnaires to households and business
persons, conducting interviews with key informants, and taking of photographs and
The study revealed that the residents mainly depend on water from the borehole sources which
is salty and cannot be used for human consumption. This has led to them resulting to buying potable water for drinking and cooking which is very expensive. The main means of human
waste disposal is through pit latrines and septic tanks as there is no sewer network in the
estate. The capacity of these means cannot be increased with the increased waste. This
necessitates the need for improvements in the water and sanitation methods in use.
The main recommendations offered as a new idea to curb the negative effects of urban growth
in the area in regard to water and sanitation facilities that include improving water and sanitation
to meet the demand of the current and upcoming developments in the water and sanitation
infrastructure. Development of public-private partnerships and involving the local community
would also be used to ensure improvement in this sector and the lives of the people.
The expected output from such improvements would include the development of water and
sanitation plans prepared in light of the increased population and incorporating the rate of urban
growth in the estate.


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