Kakamega County is bordered to the north and west by Bungoma, Busia and Siaya Counties, and to the south and east by Vihiga and Nandi Counties. Kakamega is the second-most populated county in Kenya, with nearly 2 million residents. Approximately 15 percent of that population live in urban areas.
Sixty-one percent of the residents in Kakamega County have access to improved water sources, including from the county’s main water provider, Kakamega County Water and Sewerage Company, and at least seven additional water suppliers. Improved water sources include accessing water from protected springs, boreholes, piped water to kiosks or homes, and rainwater collection.
Unfortunately, most of the suppliers in Kakamega County suffer from operational inefficiencies, including high non-revenue water levels, estimated at 53 percent. Non-revenue water is the difference between the volume of water supplied to a water service provider and what is sold to customers. It might include unbilled or unmetered consumption, illegal consumption, metering inaccuracies, leakage in distribution pipelines, service connections or storage infrastructure.
Only 15 percent of homes have access to sewerage services, and this is largely restricted to urban areas. In rural areas, three out of four homes utilize a pit latrine, while 15 percent still practice open defecation.
Despite being home to Kenya’s only tropical rainforest, Kakamega County only has 1.7 percent tree cover, compared to the national average of 10.4 percent. Rapid population growth has led to clearing of land for new settlements, resulting in increased erosion and degradation of water sources.
Key KIWASH interventions in Kakamega County include:
Water Access and Distribution
- Strengthening the capacity of Kakamega County Water and Sewerage Company (KACWASCO) to improve operational efficiency, non-revenue water management, and gender mainstreaming, with the goal of qualifying for financing to expand services.
- Strengthening the business operations of 24 WASH enterprises to improve and expand on their services, with the potential to reach approximately 80,000 new beneficiaries.
- Supporting infrastructure investments to selected KACWASCO schemes and WASH enterprises.
- Pilot appropriate management models for sustainable water service delivery especially in rural areas in line with the Water Act 2016 and WASREB.
Governance and Policy
- Advancing policies, together with the departments of water, environment, natural resources and public health that protect water services provision and sources management, and promote the improvement of water access and supply in the county.
- Supporting KACWASCO and the county water and environment departments to substantially expand WASH access through supporting its access finance and credit.
- Strengthening governance of WASH Services and water resources management institutions through strengthening the WASH forum, trainings/collective peer learning and benchmarking, improving county-level WASH planning and budgeting and so on
Sanitation and Hygiene
- Enhancing capacity of health facilities to deliver Essential WASH Actions by equipping ORT corners and installing large volume hand washing facilities.
- Creating the demand for basic and improved sanitation and hygiene through Community Led Total Sanitation, behavior change communication and sanitation marketing interventions.
- Strengthening capacity of front line health workers to reinforce adoption of improved sanitation and hygiene practices at household and community level.
- Expanding source water quality protection through spring protection activities, water resource mapping in catchment areas, tree growing and erosion control activities.
- Increasing climate change resilience in drinking water source planning, development and design of systems/services
- Initiating interventions in the sanitation value chain/ fecal sludge management to ensure safe disposal / reuse of fecal sludge in Kakamega County