Delegated Management Model for improving access to water in urban informal settlements in Kenya

                                                              

Delegated Management Model for improving access to water in urban informal settlements in Kenya

Practical Action
Solution proposed by: 
: Practical Action with partner organisations: Kisumu Urban Apostolate Programmes (KUAP), Shelter Forum, KIWASCO (Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company), funded by Comic Relief. The documentation of this solution has been supported by the Bartlett Development
In a Nutshell: 
The Delegated Management Model has successfully improved the affordability and quality of water for slum dwellers in Kisumu while reducing losses from unaccounted-for water for the water utility company. It has created greater potential for engagement between the community and the company.
Where and When: 
In the city of Kisumu, Kenya, October 2008 – September 2013
Challenges: 
In 2005 only 40% of Kisumu’s population were connected to piped water. Our baseline study in 2009 found that while 83% of slum dwellers used piped water from communal standpipes or tankers for drinking, but 55% relied on boreholes or spring water for other uses (washing, cooking). There were frequent water shortages with 62% experiencing shortages daily or weekly, at which time prices rise. Pipes burst frequently and there were concerns about water being contaminated. The water utility in 2007 had water losses (unaccounted-for) of 66% due to vandalism, leaking pipes and non-payment of bills.
Innovation: 
The Delegated Management Model was a system originally trialled by WSP in Kisumu, and taken on under this project. The utility partners with the community to deliver cheaper, better quality water to areas previously un-served. The utility installs meter chambers on the bulk water supply line on the outskirts of the settlement. These chambers are run by ‘Master Operators’ who must be a registered group from the community. They are responsible for the on-supply of water to kiosks and individual households. They are responsible for collecting payments and paying the utility. The utility offers water at a reduced price.
Concept: 
The concept behind the Delegated Management Model is one of partnerships and decentralization. The Water Act of 2002 facilitated the management reform of water supply through the devolution of responsibilities for water resources management and service provision from the state to privately institutions. At the same time, the Local Government Act (2001) and work by NGOs to mobilise and organize communities in Kisumu into neighbourhood associations paved the greater community engagement in decision-making about access to safe drinking water. Across Kenya there had historically been a reluctance on the part of water suppliers to extend infrastructure into settlements that were not wholly legal for fear that this gave the areas the impression of permanence. A compromise needed to be found where communities and utilities could partner in the supply of water. This is what the Delegated Management Model offers
Description: 
In Kenya, water supply and sewerage have been handed over to privately-run, but state-owned utility companies. The Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company operates under license from the Lake Victoria South Water and Sanitation Board, with the Board operating as the regulator, and monitoring performance. In order to try to address some of the problems of unaccounted-for water, and partly in order to better serve the city’s large informal settlements, KIWASCO installed meter chambers at various points on their bulk water supply network and appointed Master Operators to run the water supply from that meter chamber. These Master Operators should be registered groups and come from the community to be served, with the intention of facilitating greater participation in decision-making process amongst the different stakeholders. The division of responsibilities is as follows: KIWASCO is responsible for installing and reading the master meter, technical piping work, and ensuring pipes are provided to the place where people need them most. The Master Operator is responsible for delivering water to residents, receiving money from customers and paying bills to KIWASCO, reporting problems to KIWASCO, and reading the meters accurately. The system has had a generally positive impact on the extent and quality of services received by residents.
Impacts: 
In 2012 the project was serving an estimated 64,000 people through 366 kiosks (serving about 18,300 households) and 590 individual household connections. Prices for water are lower (from 20KSh per 20L down to 3KSh) and more stable. Fewer water shortages are experienced. Women and children travelled shorter distances and used less time in collecting water. Residents also were empowered to influence decisions at the utility via their master operators. The quantity of non-revenue water has reduced to 6.5%. Inequalities remain in the distribution of risks and benefits, and potentially more empowered communities might begin to challenge this