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Kenya’s water Resources: Scarcity or Sheer Mismanagement?

Author Affiliations

  • 1College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD), Tongji University, Siping Rd. 1239, Shanghai, 20009, China
  • 2Kenyatta University, Department of Civil Engineering, P.O Box 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
  • 3Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • 4Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Nairobi, P.O Box 30197-00100 Nairobi, Kenya
  • 5Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Catholic University of Eastern Africa, P.O Box62157 -00200 Nairobi, Kenya

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 5, Issue (4), Pages 54-60, April,22 (2016)


Kenya has always been described, mostly from within, as a water scarce country and in some instances as ‘chronically’ water scarce. Unfortunately, this is arrived at by merely looking at the population against the availability of freshwater, giving the issue a demographic dimension alone. Other useful and perhaps indispensable parameters such as efficiency of allocation and use, level of technology and funding in the sector are simply ignored in the scarcity equation. This portrays population growth and physical endowment as the only factors responsible for the scarcity condition and such a perception may compromise sound policy making. The present article looks at the water resources of the country within the concept of water scarcity and audits the widely held belief of a physical water scarcity in the country. The article takes the position that the country suffers more from a ‘management scarcity’ which translates to a social resource scarcity implying a policy failure than a physical scarcity. An enabling environment, most importantly, a strong political will, is, of necessity, required to ensure water security. This appears not to be a matter of possibility but a matter of willingness and Singapore’s case, which is briefly discussed in this article, serves to elucidate.


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