Resources & Exercises

The Water Impact Guidebook offers a variety of exercises, Working sheets and resource documents. The files belonging to Module A are listed here, click a file's name to download it (figures referring to the chapter-ID):

External references

Good governance in the Kenyan water sector transparency

Policies, pipes and the participation of the people – water governance practices on the ground  
[44pages, PDF, 2.5mb] Download ›››

Since 2004, the Government of Kenya has been implementing far-reaching reforms in the water sector with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Today, a policy and institutional framework is in place that is conducive to sustainable sector development. This is gradually resulting in higher performance levels in water resources management (WRM) and in the provision of water supply and sanitation (WSS) services. The long decline in access to water and sanitation has been reversed. More than one million additional people have been given sustainable access to safe and affordable drinking water in urban low-income areas. The sector budget has increased eightfold since the beginning of the reforms, enabling large-scale infrastructure investments. The Kenyan experience illustrates the tremendous opportunities for better services that a comprehensive reform and an up-scaling process can provide, when based on human rights and increased sector financing.

However, the performance of many Water Service Providers (WSPs) and the implementation of water management policies are still below par. Services are often not delivered in the most efficient way. Regulations pertaining to corporate governance, water abstraction and pollution, and standards relating to the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation are not complied with in many instances. Sector institutions still do not use funds in the most effective and needs-oriented way.

The ongoing challenges to reforms are primarily rooted in governance issues. Poor governance often constitutes a bottleneck for policy implementation and limits the impact of the reforms. This observation is in line with the discussion on sector governance in international cooperation and the need to work on interests, incentives, structures and processes in the sector. It is also in accordance with the requirement to incorporate good governance principles – such as accountability, transparency, non-discrimination and civil-society participation – in sector operations. Integrating these principles can contribute to better sector performance and to the progressive realisation of the human right to water and sanitation. While technology transfer and the availability of funding still remain important, democratic governance issues are increasingly taking centre stage in reform processes at national level.

The experience of Kenya’s water sector shows that the embezzlement of resources, discretionary decision making, capture by vested interests and disregard for the public interest are still daily realities for water utilities, sector institutions and water users.

However, the ongoing process to align the sector legislation with the requirements of the new Constitution of Kenya (2010) provides an opportunity for sector institutions, the public and development partners to move to a more targeted and integrated sector governance approach. Such an approach addresses the remaining challenges facing good governance in the sector. It may involve new integrity alliances (including actors from outside of the water sector) opening up dialogue, and assimilating lessons from current practice at national and local levels – both good and poor. Mechanisms must be strengthened, such as performance monitoring, increased participation, public awareness and the disclosure of information for consistently tracking whether policy objectives are achieved. The autonomy of regulators and institutions responsible for service delivery and policy implementation should be reinforced. Board members should be selected in transparent processes to ensure their integrity, and they should disclose information on decision making and expenditure.

Delivering better governance on the ground is first and foremost a matter of gradually changing the values, perceptions and incentives of individual decision makers, managers and staff in sector institutions. It will require a shift in the underlying power relationships and interests, and in the formal and informal rules currently governing the sector. While there is no quick fix, a comprehensive governance agenda will lead to a more effective water sector and also to more accountable practices at the sector and country levels in the long run. This will pave the way to fulfilling the rights enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya as well as the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.