ENVS Research Paper

Water privatization in kenya in kenya there is a

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Water Privatization in Kenya In Kenya “ there is a municipal water system that provides water 2 days per week or a private borehole system that provides water a few hours per day. If residents don’t have enough water storage, they must buy water from a vendor.” (Water.org) After sampling water provisions to poor households, Gulyani, Talukdar and Kariuki concluded that privatization policy, in terms of cost-recovery, is insufficient as a strategy for improving water services (K’Akumu, 272). Kenya’s decision to privatize their water sector meant an alteration in existing statures. The new statures established a new set of organizations including, the Water Services Regulatory Board (WSRB), the Water Services Board (WSB), the Water Service Providers (WSP), the Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF) and the Water Appeal Board (WAB). The WSRB is the central regulating institution, which determines, monitors and enforces water standards. The WSBs are local/regional state institutions able to monopolize water service provisions. Together these agencies work together to administrate and control all aspects of water regulation and commercialization of water economy. In this framework the notion that water is a human right and not an economic capital is unrecognized. Sustainability of this framework does not meet sustainable standards since it does not guarantee water as a basic right to all (K’Akumu, 274). The largest concern of water privatization in Kenya is that the commercialization of water would significantly compromise social justice. “ There are about half a million urban households or two million individuals living under absolute poverty [in Kenya]” (K’Akumu, 276). A large portion of these people would not be able to afford to purchase enough water to sustain their livelihood. Privatization of water causes large gaps in social classes. Equality becomes an issue when private companies are more likely to allocate water to those with higher social class than the poor families. This results in deficient supply and shortages that affect both minority and indigenous populations and fragile local ecosystems.
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Women would be most affected by the privatization of water since they are the ones with the burden of collecting water for domestic use in families. Children under the age of five are also largely affected because they are vulnerable to a host of fatal diseases associated with inadequate water and sanitation. “ In Kenya, like in any other developing country, infant mortality and child mortality rates are greatly enhanced by water and sanitation conditions” (K’Akumu, 277). There is strong evidence suggesting that privatization of water would enhance the environment through conservation and sustainable use via application of economic pricing. This would supposedly “ minimize the scope for resource misallocation” according to Unver and Gutpta (K’Akumu, 278). But thus far the ‘market conservation’ has its limitations and does not successfully capture all areas of water needs across the social spectrum. Epidemics such as
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