Access to water and sanitation in Kenya has not been keeping pace with population growth, as only 58 percent of Kenyans have access to basic drinking water and 30 percent have access to basic sanitation currently. Estimates suggest the population could double by 2050 relative to 2015 given current growth rates, while 30 million Kenyans (48 percent of the population) are expected to live in urban areas by 2030. These pressures place increased demands on institutions and infrastructure, and stretch limited sector finance that, to date, has not been able to keep pace with current demands. Additionally, Kenya is water scarce, with an uneven distribution of available water across the country, and variable rainfall that results in frequent droughts and floods. Since 2000, the Kenyan government and development partners have significantly increased overall spending on water. However, donor funding still makes up 64 percent of the total sector financing. Kenya’s National Water Master Plan 2030 estimates that $14 billion in investment in water supply and $5.4 billion in investment in urban sewerage infrastructure are needed over the next 15 years. Given that development partners now contribute more than half of financing, a sharp increase in mobilizing new sources, including commercial ones, will be required.
USAID is layering investments and emphasizing market-based models in its two flagship WASH activities: Kenya Integrated WASH and Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development. Additionally, the WASH Finance project aims to close financing gaps to achieve universal access to water and sanitation services through sustainable and creditworthy business models, increased public funding, and expanded market finance for infrastructure investments. Together these activities address WASH needs and related challenges with the management of water resources, while stimulating private sector development and fostering improved governance. Activities are layered with global health and food security programming, and are connected to areas of chronic humanitarian need, to leverage resources for greater impact. USAID coordinates closely with other donors active in the WASH sector, including Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank under a common sector policy framework and monitoring system.
In addition to USAID’s investments, other U.S. government departments and agencies implement activities in Kenya. USAID has an interagency agreement with the USGS within the Department of the interior to support groundwater mapping through remote sensing and modeling, for example. The Department of State is training officials on the rehabilitation of the Nairobi River Basin in collaboration with the U.S. Water Partnership. Meanwhile, HHS/CDC works to enhance cholera preparedness for, prevention of, and response to cholera.
By 2020, USAID’s activities are estimated to provide more than one million Kenyans with sustainable access to basic water supplies and more than one million with access to basic sanitation.