Kenya Water Crisis

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Water crisis in Kenya

Ygnacia Bradford
October 12, 2010
An increasingly serious drought continues to plague the county of Kenya effecting the environment and numerous ways.

The Population, Health Risks & Disease

The typical day for a rural Kenyan family, usually children, who should otherwise be in school, walk several miles to search for water to provide for the family for cleaning, and food preparation. Most times the water is dirty, not treated or which is contaminated by surface soil and feces from the livestock. It is also not nearly enough to provide for a family which needs 120 liters a day

Poor planning, mismanagement and lack of technical skills have led to constant water shortages in a place otherwise endowed with enough water resources. As a result of poor or lack of treatment by the water departments, the water being consumed is raw and contaminated. And according to Hydro Watch, a Non-Governmental Organization dealing with water and sanitation in Kenya, ten people die every day as a result of contaminated water consumption in the country, mostly children who are often caught drawing water from leaking sewages. Many go days without bathing because the cost of water is so high, more than food. And the need for food is greater for consumption and agriculture. Kenya is limited by an annual renewable fresh water supply of only 647 cubic meters per capita, and is classified as a water scarce country.[1] Only 57 percent of the rural population has access to an improved drinking water source[2], and the time consuming pursuit of water collection prevents women from taking up income generating activities, for children, prevents them from attending school

In Nairobi, water trades at 20 shillings for a 20-litre jerry- can. Most families live below the poverty line and cannot afford it. Water crisis in the city has made it a profitable business for those who sell water. Some traders have drilled deep boreholes from where they draw water and haul it in transport in trucks.

Fighting at water points are rampant as women battle for water available and for those who stay out late, there is the danger of being raped. Conflict prone areas include the upper Ewaso Ngiro North River Basin, West Mt. Kenya, Narumoru River, Molo River, Njoro River and parts of Machakos, Kitui and Makueni districts. According to the 2009 census, an estimated one in five Kenyans uses the bush as a toilet – access to piped water covers only 38.4% of the urban population and 13.4% of rural residents.[3] Pay toilets are found scarcely, but is prohibitive because of the lack of money

There is no infrastructure and whatever little there is, is underdeveloped and not serving the given needs of the high population. The inadequate water supply is also rationed by landowners who regulate the number of cans a family can fetch. The importance of sanitation is ignored, as people do not follow or our ignorant of proper sanitation measures. Areas where water is fetched, called latrines, are built near roads/pathways and not well kept. Some residents relieve near roadsides and pathways resulting in nauseating sights and foul smell. There is also lack of sufficient and proper drainage systems to deal with drainage during the rainy seasons. This has resulted to flooding on roads, pathways and sometimes in houses because there is no outlet to the rainwater.

Tons of garbage piles up daily, because of no dumping ground due to pressure on the existing land space and no regular plans for the collection of garbage. infestation by worms and other animals pose additional health risk.

The health condition of the population has deteriorated due to the above-mentioned situation. And also pools of water, from leaking pipes form breeding grounds for diseases such as mosquitoes, bacteria, fungi and viruses. Some of the most common diseases are malaria, cholera, dysentery, skin diseases, etc. Last year in 2009, cholera, measles and polio...
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