Maintenance for Sustainable Water Access in Rural Kenya

P4G Theme

Digital Solutions for Water




Partnership Type


Countries of Operation

Kenya ,


The Maintenance for Sustainable Water Access partnership, led by Oxfam and strategic partners, implemented a pilot project to provide sustainable models of water distribution that would strengthen resilience among marginalized communities.

Investing in Impact

P4G awarded the partnership US $82,000 in grant funding. 

In rural Kenya, conflicts over scarce water resources are on the rise, the ability to pay is shrinking, and existing water systems are breaking down. This partnership enhanced select rural water systems in Turkana County, an arid land in Northern Kenya that has been susceptible to droughts, by improving operations and maintenance, strengthening capacities of local technicians and providers as well as building local skills. 

Maintenace for Sustainable Water Access’ model bundles several rural water schemes in a region, and then contracts a private operator to undertake professionalized Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services. This approach focuses on rural area ecosystems where the lack of reliable water infrastructure is most acute.  

The partnership enrolled 60 rural schemes under the bundled service contract and 80% of them are functioning optimally as a result of preventive and curative maintenance to extend the systems’ lifetime and functionality (i.e., boreholes, pumps, main and secondary lines bringing water to the manned public taps, tanks, and manned public water kiosks). As part of the focus on a new financial approach, the pilot established digital payment mechanisms that showed improved payments and accountability. Community members also acknowledged the new model for improving the service for good quality safe and reliable water. 

By involving the Turkana County Government, the partnership was able to ensure their support for the scalable business model that meets the need of both existing and migratory communities. Moreover, as Turkana Country adopted the policy into its water management practices, it demonstrated how to replicate the model with other rural governments.


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