World Water Day marked
Written By:Daniel Waitere/Doreen Apollos , Posted: Sat, Mar 22, 2008
Saturday is the World Water Day, a day also declared as the International year of sanitation by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
But despite the theme of this years water day, several people are yet to access the globally accepted standards of clean water.
In Kenya, there is little to celebrate.
An estimated 42, 000 people die every week from diseases related to poor water quality and an absence of adequate sanitation.
The problem is excerbated by the rapid urbanisation coupled by the the mushrooming of informal settlements.
the poor in the society especially women and children have borne the blunt of water or lack of it thereof.
A recent study dubbed ‘Citizens Report Card on Urban Water, Sanitation and Solid Waste Service in Kenya’ indicated that the poor spend 225% more on water in comparison with the well to do households.
Access to clean water remains a mirage to many city dwellers, most of who have been forced to buy from water vendors or tapping through illegal connections.
The government through the ministry of water and irrigation says it has formulated a key policy that will promote concurrent development of water and sanitation projects.
Even as the government makes efforts to address water challenges, the informal settlements will continue to pose a serious challenge to water sanitation due to inadequate sewerage facilities.
However there are some success stories of how communities try to deal with lack of water and sanitation.
Waruku community in Nairobi is a slum area highly characterized by lack of piped water at homesteads, poor sanitation and drainage systems.
For years the community has been faced with challlenges of water shortage and ultimately the hazards associated with it in terms of health and hygiene.
But with the establishement of the Waruku Community Based Water and Sanitation Project, the residences are now benefitting from the project that serves upto 500 people a day.
Sanitation has also been improved and residence experience less ‘flying toilets’
These projects are becoming popular in most areas as they serve a large population, the water is affordable at cheaper rates and the sanitation is well mainatained by the communities.