Planning for Domestic Water Supply in Mugutha Sublocation of Ruiru Municipality in Kenya

The Kenya natural endowment of freshwater is limited. It is estimated that currently only 15 per cent of the country's potential yield of renewable fresh water resource has been developed. Currently, access to safe water at national level is estimated at 68 per cent in urban areas and 49 per cent in rural areas with the overall coverage and access declining in terms of quality and quantity. Presently, the national coverage of safe drinking water is estimated at only 40 per cent

Rapid urbanization in urban fringe areas stress the capacity of existing infrastructure facilities and compromises the ability of the government and other agencies to provide essential urban services, critical among them being domestic water supply. Attempts to mitigate these problems have often been ineffective in space and time. Lack of clear policies and effective legal and institutional mechanisms posses a major challenge to sustainable urban development in urban fridge areas. The effect of Nairobi city urban sprawl, rapid unplanned growth and informal settlement in Ruiru municipality has put high pressure on the capacity of Ruiru Municipality water infrastructure.

This study examines the existing domestic water situation in the fast urbanising Ruiru municipality in general and Mugutha Sub-location in particular with a view to making viable proposals on how water demand can be met in an equitable and sustainable manner within the framework of Integrated Resource Planning (IRP). Secondary and primary data were collected using appropriate instruments. The statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse field data while Excel was used to aid better graphical presentation. Geographic Information System (GIS) was used for spatial analysis.

The study found out that the main sources of water in the study area were surface water, ground water and precipitation. Since the municipal authority is not a water undertaker, the domestic water supply has been left to various water services providers. The study further found out that the peri-urban area of Mugutha sub-location is largely rural in nature with limited commercial and industrial activities. About 86 per cent of respondents' houses were permanent in nature. Over 40 per cent of the respondents work in Nairobi and use various modes of transport to access their work places, however, poor roads and drainage systems hampers mobility. The study found out that the majority of households (71 per cent) are not connected to piped water supply. This situation contributes to low piped water coverage and poor equity of distribution in addition to relatively low adequacy levels. The frequency of domestic water supply for those households that are connected is rather discouraging as only 38 per cent receive their supplies on daily basis. In the study area this study established that the main mode of excreta disposal is use of pit latrines. About 80 per cent of the respondents indicated that pit latrine was the only available mode of excreta disposal as adaptation of other alternative modes depends on a reliable supply of piped water.

The study concludes that the level of domestic water supply coverage is low and the distribution is not equitable. It is against this background that planning for domestic water development and supply becomes an inevitable undertaking. Prudent water demand management within the framework of Integrated Resources Planning is advocated for sustainable development of the study area in particular and Ruiru municipality in general.

Some of the recommendations made in the study include: Prudent water demand management must be exercised through tariff and water saving measures such as protection and conservation of water resources. The role of community water supplies and water vendors should be enhanced and regulated to promote equitability and quality water provision in the study area.

 

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