The lack of an effective approach for operation and maintenance (O&M) of peri-urban and rural water systems poses a serious threat to the sustainability of community water schemes in Kenya. The current system is mostly upheld by voluntary community members, who are unable to dependably provide the maintenance and repair services many water schemes need. Meanwhile, private sector businesses with sufficient O&M capacity do not experience sufficient demand to incentivize further investment in and growth of their services, ultimately driving users back to local volunteers. Several models have been proposed for O&M services in rural, underserved areas of the arid lands in Kenya, though few have been tested for financial viability.
Maintenance for Sustainable Water Access in Rural Areas in Kenya, a partnership between Oxfam and Grundfos, will implement a business model that pools resources and expertise from the public and private sectors in Kenya to provide reliable and affordable water services to rural communities. This partnership seeks to demonstrate that public-sector investments in O&M - coupled with service delivery through private sector specialists - is a more cost-effective way to increase functionality rates, deliver reliable and sustainable water system repair services than the current model of community-run operations and maintenance.
The proposed model aims to help county governments of Turkana and Nyeri save money by better maintaining water infrastructure through coordinated, professional O&M; increase the average lifespan of infrastructure from eight to 12 years; and attract further investment by demonstrating a strong commitment to resource effectiveness, accountability and innovation.
County Government of Nyeri, County Government of Turkana, Grundfos, LeFil Consulting,Oxfam, Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB)