The Water Crisis in Kenya

According to the Joint Monitoring Programme’s 2012 report, access to safe water supplies throughout Kenya is 59%, and access to improved sanitation is 32%. There is still an unmet need in rural and urban areas for both water and sanitation. Kenya faces challenges in water provision with erratic weather patterns in the past few years causing droughts and water shortages. Kenya also has a limited renewable water supply and is classified as a water scarce country. Urban migration contributes to challenges in sanitation, as people crowd into cities and urban growth is unregulated.

As well as being scarce, water in Kenya is not distributed fairly. Priority is given to planned urban areas and wealthy rural communities that can pay for services, so those in slums and remote villages often go without. The sustainability of water, sanitation and hygiene programs is also an issue. Although there is reliable information, estimates suggest up to a third of water pumps are broken at any one time. 

Due to lack of access to water and sanitation, diarrhea is second to pneumonia in deaths in children under five years of age (excluding neonatal). Water, sanitation, and hygiene-related illnesses and conditions are the number one cause of hospitalization in children under age five. Access to water and sanitation also contribute to time savings for women, more hours in school for girls, and fewer health costs.

More Water Facts

  • Over 16.4 million Kenyans still lack access to safe water. This has a huge impact on health and infant mortality. 
  • Kenya has a thriving tourist industry and exports tea, coffee and flowers around the world. But almost half the population live below the poverty line and millions lack safe water and basic toilets. 
  • Despite positive signs of development, 41% of Kenyans still lacked safe water and even more 69% lacked access to a toilet.
  • 16.4. million people in Kenya don't have access to safe water. This is over half of the population.
  • Over 29 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Kenya, over two-thirds of the population.
  • Over 10,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Kenya.

The Water4 Solution in Kenya


In 2014 we were fortunate to partner with TAK Water, a social enterprise established by the TAK Foundation which trains young people in water well drilling and business skills, and provides water to rural communities in Kenya.

kenyaBeginning in February, 15 young men were trained in manual drilling and water source maintenance. In July the teams travelled to Uganda to undergo two-week training in Water4 drilling processes, and they are now using Water4 tool systems. This year we are offering additional training and helping to install small-scale pumped systems to select communities in Western Kenya.

All the drilling technicians are young men between 19 and 35 years of age. Most come from impoverished backgrounds with no education beyond the primary level, and most of them have a family to support. Using Water4 drilling methods, tools, and training, TAK Water is providing these young men a chance for employment, income, and a brighter future for them and their families. Not only are the drillers passionate about their jobs, but have also gained the dignity that comes from supporting their families economically. The communities where they have drilled water are benefitting from having clean water sources closer to their homes and schools. 

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