In Kisumu, Lake Victoria’s water is becoming safe to drink [fr]
Kisumu city county is Kenya’s third largest city, and its proximity to Lake Victoria does not guarantee access to clean water for its 600,000 residents. Since 2002, AFD has been supporting a comprehensive project for the management of the city’s water and sanitation services, for which a new component will be launched in 2018.
Nyalenda, in Kisumu city county, western Kenya.
In this informal neighborhood of Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria, Maureen Otieno is doing the washing up in the courtyard of her house. Yet this situation should not be taken for granted: in 2002, over half the 400,000 residents of the country’s third largest city did not have access to a drinking water distribution network. At the time, they got their supply directly from the lake, wells, or from private suppliers. The result: frequent cholera epidemics and a price for a 20-liter jerrican of water of up to Ksh 20 (Kenyan shillings), as compared to Ksh 1 to 2 today.
At the time, while needs for running water were estimated at 40,000 m3 a day, the existing structures – precarious pumping and treatment plants, built in the 1920s and 1960s – supplied less than half the amount.
In terms of distribution, in a neighborhood like Nyalenda it had a “spaghetti” scheme, meaning it was disorganized, where the law of the strongest prevailed for both costs and connections. The quality of water was not subject to any control. Wastewater was directly discharged into the lake, as most of the treatment pumps had not been working for a long time.
It was in 2002 that the Government of Kenya authorized the creation of water and sanitation management and regulation companies. With financing from AFD amounting to 39M Euros, the Lake Victoria South Water Services Board partnered with the Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company (KIWASCO) to implement a management plan for water and sanitation services in Kisumu, ranging from the water intake to its discharge into the natural environment, and including distribution.
In 2018, a new project, the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Project, will complement and improve the first investments in the water and sanitation network in Kisumu. This project is co-financed by AFD, the European Investment Bank, the European Union and the Government of Kenya.