Water and sanitation services reforms in Kenya

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Publication Title

Water and sanitation services reforms in Kenya

Publication Type


Professor Patricia Kameri-Mbote, University of Nairobi and Kerubo Okioga, COHRE

Publication Date

26 Nov 2008


Publication URL




Kenya’s structure for the management of water and sanitation are rooted in the 1974 National water Master plan which sought to ensure the availability of potable water to all households by the year 2000. The Kenya government later developed the national water policy, Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1999. This policy stated that the government’s role would be redefined away from direct service provision to regulatory functions. The Municipal councils, the private sector and communities were to take up the service provision role. Regulations would be introduced to give other institutions the legal mandate to provide water services and to provide mechanisms for regulation. These reforms have been translated into law in the Water Act, 2002.

This paper analyses the extent to which the institutional structures provided for in the legal and policy framework governing water and sanitation in Kenya provide for participation of diverse stakeholders in the management of this critical resource. Starting from the premise that Kenya’s framework environmental law, the Environment Management and Coordination Act, Act No. 9 of 2000, provides for participation in environmental decision-making, the paper will interrogate how this has been applied in the water and sanitation sectors in Kenya to ensure the realisation of the right to water by all citizens.


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