Municipal Water Planning and Management Implications: A Case of Thika Municipality in Kenya Njagi Felix Mwiathi.

Moi University School of Environmental Studies Department of Environmental Monitoring, Planning and Management Email: Mobile No: +254 722 973447 Eldoret Kenya

ABSTRACT Kenya is classified by the United Nations as a ‘chronically water scarce country’ (UNESCO, 2003). The natural endowment of the freshwater is highly limited, fragile, and threatened. The annual water available per capital as at 2003 stood at 647m3 and was projected to fall to 235m3 by 2025. This is far below 1000m3 per capita set as the benchmark for water scarcity. Natural resource management has been a major issue for scientists, planners and politicians since the economy and long-term wealth are largely based on the exploitation of non-renewable resources although other factors such as human knowledge and labour are to a certain extent complementary. Today, it is increasingly accepted that environmental and renewable resources are at even greater risk. The water management strategies for overcoming water deficit experienced by the increasing population involve building management capacities and employing the right technologies which includes efficient water use control and conservation. Thika is one of the satellite towns to Nairobi city. It is both an urban and a rural set up given that much of the surrounding land is agricultural where demand for water has been on the increase due to the influx of people from the neighbouring towns and urban expansion. Therefore proper planning and management o water resources in thika are Vital in order to achieve the desired development. This paper highlights the role of the Municipality in planning and managing of water resources in order to meet the increasing residential demand for water. The paper also highlights the special issues involved in residential water management in Thika. It also gives the policy and institutional implications in planning and management of water within the municipality. Key Words: Management, Planning, Water use, Reforms,

ABSTRACT ....................................................................................................................................................1 KEY WORDS: MANAGEMENT, PLANNING, WATER USE, REFORMS,..........................................1 1.0 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................................1 1.1 UNDERSTANDING THE RESIDENTIAL WATER IN THIKA’S WATER USE.............................2 1.2 UNDERSTANDING THE TRENDS IN GLOBAL MUNICIPAL WATER INDUSTRY..................3 1.3 INCREASING REGULATORY INTERVENTION..............................................................................4 1.4 MANAGING WATER DEMAND...........................................................................................................5 1.4.1 AUGMENTING SUPPLY...............................................................................................................................6 1.4.2 INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENT..................................................................................................................9 1.4.3 PRIVATIZATION......................................................................................................................................10 1.5 MANAGING THIKA’S TREND – PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS..........10 1.6 SPECIAL ISSUES...................................................................................................................................11 1.6.1 WATER CONCEPT:.................................................................................................................................11 1.6.2 INSTITUTIONAL CAPABILITY:....................................................................................................................11 1.6.3 WATER DEMAND MANAGEMENT: ...........................................................................................................13 1.7 POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS.......................................................................................................14 BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................................................20


FIGURE 1: SURFACE WATER WITHDRAWAL IN KENYA BY SECTOR..........................................8 TABLE 1: INTERNATIONAL WATER PRICE.........................................................................................5 TABLE 2: CONSERVATION MEASURES AND POSSIBLE WATER REDUCTION CONSERVATION MEASURE PERCENT REDUCTION IN USE..........................................................6


1.0..........................................................................................................INTRODUCTION Residential water use, even domestic water use shares a very small portion of total water withdrawals for all their uses as the global statistics of the freshwater use shown. Water used in household and urban area, however, has been meriting general attentions for many reasons. To provide the water for these purposes not only involves huge financial commitment to ensure water supply with high quality and reliability to consumer, the effluent being extensively treated with minimized environmental impact, but also is given a high priority by policy makers in Kenya. As is stipulated in the Water Act 2002 the importance of domestic water is clearly defined as the guideline for national water supply which states that the first priority should be given to providing water for people for use in their homes and urban activities. In Kenya and in particular Thika town open door policy and economic reform are changing dramatically the municipal water industry with the increasing role of cities in the economy. On one hand, rapid economic growth greatly improves living standard, diversifies water demand pattern and thus, booms the per capita water consumption. On the other hand, increasing water pollution and wasteful use are offsetting the already insufficient water resource leading to a continuous water shortage prevailing in daily urban life in Thika. Regarding its important role and development potentiality, urban residential water and water in other urban activities can never be overestimated. As a matter of the fact, residential use is the most rapidly growing sector in municipal water supply in both Thika town and Kenya as a whole in recent years. The effluent from this sector also shares the equal percentage with other urban sewage in total. In Thika for example, domestic wastewater accounted for 75 percent of total sewage water by 2006 (Thika District Development Plan, 2006) The worst thing is that almost all the effluent are discharged into natural water bodies without any complete treatment, which is the major pollutant to urban drinking water


sources. Therefore, a good residential water service can not be guaranteed without a solid municipal water system This paper begins with the discussion of residential and domestic water in entire Thika Municipality water use. What the role does municipal water utility has? Following this understanding is the review of major international and national trends in municipal water industry particularly from the perspective of lesson and technology. With the reference of these trends, special issues in Kenyan context which are crucial for Thika municipal water planning and management reform are discussed. Finally, implications for planning and managing Thika’s water have been spelled out as the future reform recommendations to municipal water industry of Thika towards a sustainable future.

1.1 USE


The supply of residential water in Thika quite different from what Western municipal water planners might imagine of it. The municipal water system is fragmented in its management. With single water plants and a daily production capacity of 24,000 cubic meters by 2006 statistics, Thika Water Company produces only about 65% percent of all the piped water supply with a daily. The limited share of municipal water utility in Thika’s water use seriously hampers its many water conservation initiatives. For many years, municipal role in managing Thika’s water use has been functioned in a partial capacity. This can be one of the important reasons, except for the fragmented management, that the total water demand keeps increasing while the painstaking water conservation move started as early as 1990’s. On the other hand, inadequate production also prevented municipal water utilities from achieving certain scale of economy and resulted in a general financial shortage prevailing among utilities. Any demand management in this situation means a directly decrease in utility’s revenue even with a rapid increase in


user’s fee in recent years. That is why the water saving and efficiency as well as wastewater treatment technologies can not find their markets. This limited role of municipal utility in Thika’s water use also makes any sustainable planning and management impossible. Future development of residential water use driven by the continuous urbanization process will not be guaranteed. Without increasing its share of municipal water utility in water use, many of the quality control standards for residential water can not be applied in the whole town. The reliability, quality and safety of Thika’s drinking water as a whole will be compromised. Without a robust municipal water system, the sustainable water resource development of Thika municipality will be the utopia



INDUSTRY Worldwide practice in municipal water supply and management illustrates that improving living standard and accessibility to water contribute to the ever-increasing demand for municipal water. Meanwhile, the increasing cost of supply, scarcity of untapped source of surface water, limitation of groundwater because of the deleting resource and water contamination, as well as the growing concerning on environmental issues lead many countries and water utilities to explore alternatives to manage municipal water system. The vicissitude of water industry in the past fifty years manifests certain trends which can be of great directives for further reform of municipal water planning and management of Thika so as to ensure a reliable and sustainable residential water supply as well as to deal efficiently with the possible water problems in future. (Grigg, 1999). Good global picture of five-stage water provision in recent fifty years with the reference to the changing world economic climate: the 1950’s-1960’s global economic growth, modernization and state capitalism; the 1970’s redistribution with growth; Mid 1970’s to late 1970’s basic need approach; the 1980’s free market economics and the 1990’s onwards economic crisis and privatization (Acher,1997). In fact, the past fifty years witness the most radical changes in water industry. Water has evolved from a concept of 3

basic human requirement for survival to a commodity subject to demand and supply rule. Growing world population with higher living standard and the increasing frequency of drought conditions in many parts of the world generate even greater impact on our living environment, finally put water issue on the world political agenda. Increasing demand and declining resource drive water utilities to explore approaches other than the traditional ones to meet water needs with fewer resources, less ecological disruption and less capital commitment. Many trends emerge from this adjustment toward a more efficient and sustainable use of water resources, well protection of environment and more cost-benefit efficiency of the water industry. The following texts summarize the major ones that are relevant to the water resource management in Thika



Clean water is not cheap and unlimited anymore. Every urban activity is directly or indirectly water-using in nature (Odoyo, 1999). Policy for urban water supply, thus, is gaining a strong and important position in municipal policy and planning system. Governments at different levels are greatly involved in water supply and waste water service than ever before not only through direct financial involvement but through increasing regulatory interventions. Enactment of the Water Act 2002 in Kenya brought the tremendous institutional reform to the water industry. The concept of water management by hydrological boundary or catchment basins has led to the reduction of the national water authorities to only ten. The Water Act in Kenya that was established further strengthened the concept of water management based on catchment area as the cornerstone. Global experience confirms that in order to protect water resource and to achieve the efficient water use, systematic enforcement efforts in forms of legislation and regulations are indispensable.




Drought condition and changing nature of water demand in many parts of the world have shown water utilities and professionals the potentiality of water demand management through both conservation and the improvement of system efficiency. Research in the past three decades in water demand management especially through policy instruments such as pricing have also laid the solid foundation for current managerial applications. Water demand is no longer unbridled. To some extent, the growing trend can be well curbed with a good combination of policy and technical instruments. In Europe, where per capita water use is traditionally low, the important value of water resource has already been clearly signalized by the continuous increasing of water fee in recent years too. Today the water tariff in European countries is among the highest in the world (Mitchell, 1990) as illustrated in the table below. Water conservation effect in Thika is not as appealing as that in the States. But it is still gaining popularity among countries because of its less capital involvement and risk, easiness to be implemented. Table 1: International Water Price. Country Water Prices in $/M3 Germany 1.91 Denmark 1.64 Belgium 1.54 Netherlands 1.25 France 1.23 United Kingdom 1.18 Italy 0.78 Finland 0.69 Ireland 0.63 Sweden 0.58 Spain 0.57 U.S.A 0.51 Australia 0.50 South Africa 0.40 Source: Extracted from the Executive Summary of the World Water Development Report. Water tech online, 2001.


Table 2: Conservation Measures and Possible Water Reduction Conservation Measure Percent Reduction in Use Conservation Measures Metering Leak Repair Water Saving Devices Water Use Restriction Water Reuse Percentage Reduction Up To 25% Nearly 9% At least 10% 10-20% Up to 25%

Source Thika Water and Sewerage Company Records One should note that  Metering is not a conservation measure per se. It is the first step toward any water conservation efforts.  Conservation-oriented rate structure, which is generally classified as: uniform commodity rates, flat seasonal rates, inverted-block rates and excess-use rates, implemented in conjunction with an active conservation program may significantly reduce water use.  Making of water conservation initiative an even more pragmatic alternative for more and more water utilities, both publicly and privately owned, to substantially reduce water demand without altering lifestyle.


Augmenting Supply

While the extension of system capacity continues to be of great importance in most of water utilities in the world, the growing economic, political and environmental problems associated with this approach, the more and more stringent environmental standards as well as much costlier conventional ways to augment supply have led to a search for alternatives to balance supply and demand. Among all these non-conventional ways such


as increasing system efficiency, reducing or controlling system demand, wastewater renovations are the environmental sound alternatives to augment supply. In many countries, water quality standards have been developed governing the discharge of wastewater into the environment. Wastewater, in this context, includes sewage effluent, storm water runoff, and industrial discharges. The necessity to protect the natural environment from wastewater-related pollution has led to much improved treatment techniques. Extending these technologies to the treatment of wastewater was a logical extension of this protection and augmentation process (Kwonyike, 2004).

The most important concept behind wastewater reuse is the idea of ‘recycling’. In fact within the hydrological cycle, nature is engaging in a process of continuous water reuse too. In many parts of the world, inadvertent and unplanned wastewater reuse is already not a new concept with the increasing water pollution. Wastewater reuse can be categorized into potable and non-potable uses according to its purpose of usage. Most of the planned reuse is for non-potable purposes. The earliest non-potable use can be dated back to the sewage farming in Bombay, India, as early as 1877, and, in Delhi, from 1913 (Kebaya,2000). In modern times, the most intensive use of wastewater for irrigation has been made in Israel. Other non-potable uses which are widely practiced in many parts of world are industrial processes not involving food or drugs such as cooling, creation of recreational lakes, landscaping, and limited domestic use (IETC 2000). Because agricultural water use accounts for majority of the water withdrawals in the Kenya’s freshwater use, water reuse for agricultural purpose has the widest implications in water resource planning and management as shown in the figure below.


Figure 1: Surface Water Withdrawal in Kenya by Sector Source: UNEP Grid 2006 In urban context, when treated effluent is not an accepted source of potable supply, a separated system for its distribution is required. These dual system concepts survive quite well on the fact that only very small potion of municipal water used to be of drinking quality, for example in the U.S, this water is less than 1 percent of all municipal supply. The use of the dual system can be in such purposes including fire fighting, sanitary flushing, street cleaning, or irrigation of ornamental gardens or lawns. Potable reuse can be accomplished into three ways: direct potable reuse, planned indirect reuse and groundwater recharge (Seckler 1999). Most of these types of reuses are experimental in nature and usually under the extreme situations. The feasibility of wastewater reuse ultimately depends on the cost of recycled or reclaimed water relative to alternative supplies of potable water, and on public acceptance of the reclaimed water. Costs of effluent treatment vary widely according to location and level of treatment. The degree of public acceptance also varies widely depending on water availability, religious and cultural beliefs, and previous experience with the reuse of wastewater. Wastewater for reuse must be adequately treated, biologically and chemically, to ensure the public health and environmental safety.


Cost-benefit analysis of many non-potable reuse studies (Johnson 1971, Culp 1986, Ma 1997) confirms that wastewater reuse is cheaper comparing with long distance water transfer. Normally, its capital investment is equal to that of transporting water from 30 to 60 kilometres afar. It is also economic than sea water desalinization. For example, according to Culp’s estimation (1986), if all the municipal wastewater in the United States can be reused, the cost will be only one dollar per capita per month.

1.4.2 Institutional Arrangement Institutional aspect has been understood in the past decades as the crucial prerequisite to solve municipal water supply and management. Water issues are all aggravated by a general weakness among the institutions dealing with water affairs. It is widely recognized that the serious economic and technical problems associated with balancing supply and demand can not be solved without first paying attention to the institutional context of water management (Griggs, 1999). Traditionally, municipal water was managed separately by different local managerial units not according to natural hydrological divisions. The management in this style usually can not deal with many problems that are intra-region in nature such as wastewater discharge at the upper reach of a river which will finally affect the water quality of the water use at the lower reach of the same river. Under the current Water Act 2002 in Kenya six water basins were established. Each authority was based on hydrological boundaries and assumed responsibility within those boundaries for the planning, design, construction, operation, finance, and ownership of facilities for water resources development; provision of sewage and treatment of wastewater and their disposal; restoration and maintenance of the quality of the nation’s water; the use of waters for recreation and the enhancement of amenity values; flood prevention and land drainage and fisheries and navigation in inland waters.” (Rose, 1999). Regional arrangement of water management does not necessarily call for the physical interconnection of water facilities but rather call for their joint management. Today, basin based water management is the foundation for many water policies. Even more broadly 9

based approach and institutional arrangement that integrates water, wastewater and storm water service at a basin level is becoming well accepted management in region suffering from a deficit in water resources.

1.4.3 Privatization The provision of the basic urban infrastructure service such as water supply, road, sewers public housing falls into the dichotomy between the developed and developing countries. Industrial revolution in Kenya and especially Thika Town has led to the dramatic change of demand for infrastructure service with the introduction of new technologies such as flush toilet. Moreover, prosperous economy made the infrastructure service affordable to most of urban households. In the developing countries, since 1970’s, the provision of infrastructure service is mainly the responsibility of the public sector. In front of the rapid urban growth and varied demand, however, many public provision of basic infrastructure service in most of the developing countries become both inadequate and ineffective.



IMPLICATIONS National economic policies and changing nature of municipal water demand resulting from rapid urbanization in recent decades have greatly altered the context of municipal water planning and management. The traditional supply-dominated logic in municipal water system seems insufficient in front of Thika’s accelerated water scarcity both in terms of quantity, especially during the dry years, and in quality due to unbridled water pollution from untreated wastewater. However, despite the recent reforms in water management promoted by Ministry of Water and Irrigation in Kenya, and advance in water planning such as the consensus on water transfer, maintaining a sustainable groundwater source, Thika municipal water utilities have not well prepared to handle water shortage and water pollution in the long term (Rose, 1999).




The review of major trends in water industry provides useful insights into how a reformed municipal water system might be established in Thika; Kenya. In fact most of the specific problems concerning with municipal Water Planning and Management in Thika are also prevailing in Kenya in general under a transitional economy. Those issues are crucial for future development of municipal water industry and should be clarified as the directives in further planning and management reform.

1.6.1 Water Concept: Water has long been considered as a renewable natural resource and the basic requirement as well in Kenya especially after independence in 1963’s water became a real ‘public good’ and seems unlimited. In the natural hydrological cycle, however, the amount of the water that can be renewed is limited. If only water consumption is within natural renewal capacity, water is a renewable natural resource. The present wide spread water shortage among many of Kenyan towns, to a great extent, is the direct result of this problematic water concept. By this thinking, municipal governments and water utilities focus mainly on the development of new water resources without due attention to wastewater treatment and reuse as well as water conservation. The current situation in Thika best illustrates this water dilemma. The water recycling and conservation concept will not only augment the source of supply but also eventually reverse the downward environmental quality of Thika. It’s sustainable and environment friendly feature merit it the best alternative in especially a transit economy when demand is varied and negative environmental impact is huge. This new thinking should also be the cornerstone of any future water policies in Kenya if the epidemic water shortage and water pollution in Kenya’s towns and cities tend to be cured

1.6.2 Institutional Capability: General weakness in institutional arrangement and fragmentation in water management are widely thought to aggravate the water problems all over the world. In Kenya, water


management is traditionally resided in many parts of government. In recent years, however, due to the increasing water scarcity, central government tried to reform water management in order to act efficiently and effectively. The unsatisfactory coordination between concerned water authorities is well below the initial expectation. It turns out that administrative arrange alone is not enough to handle water problem. The West (Developed nations) has already fully documented the efficiency and effectiveness of regional solution based on hydrological boundary to water supply problem. In fact, Kenya has also set up six drainage basins. These include:  Lake Victoria North Catchment Area.  Lake Victoria South catchment Area.  Rift Valley Catchment Area.  Tana Catchment Area Basin.  Athi Catchment Area  Ewaso Nyiro North Catchment Area. But for the long time, these arrangements are just another administrative tribunals of the government without fully functioning. The demand plan has been modified according to water projection as well as the storage level of reservoirs. At present, water intake capacity of waterworks in the basin is more than three times of the amount of natural renewable water resources (Ministry of Water and Irrigation, 2007). Fragmented water management is a great barrier to the formulation of unified control over water resource. Long, middle-term supply demand plan under this management system can not be prepared and effectively implemented. Optimum water-efficiency fails to be achieved. Institutional capability building is one of the fundamental tasks for Thika which should be approached from the basin point of view. More radical organizational reform should be carried out with the objective to build a powerful centralized management in charge of basin-wide water resources planning, development, management, and finance. The existing powers in different departments should be removed or agglomerated into the regional organization This authority should also be responsible for water supply, sewerage treatment, regional wastewater reuse, flood prevention as well as environmental protection of the whole basin.


The dichotomy between urban and rural water supply has a very strong equity implication and seriously compromise water conservation in general. On one hand, most of the rural residents or new immigrants usually either do not have the equal access to the clean municipal water or are charged differently from urban inhabitants for the same service. On the other hand, this division leaves rural water out of the efficient water management. As a mater of fact, providing reliable, clean municipal water accessible to everybody regardless of his or her entitlement should be one of the mandates of the regional water authority.

1.6.3 Water Demand Management: Price elasticity which measures the sensibility of the water demand to the change of water price is widely accepted among developed economies especially in the USA as the most efficient way to manage traditionally unbridled demand. Researches further confirm that comparing with outdoor use, indoor water use is more inelastic to possible price change because of its basic requirement nature. Recent water studies in Thika prepared by both domestic and foreign consultants also suggest water pricing as one of the major measures to deal with Thika’s water problem. Water use among residents is still conservative. Comparative demand management studies between high per capita water use country and lower one such as the U.S and France suggest that demand management even through water pricing do not result as much reduction of demand in France as that in the U.S. Meanwhile, current water pricing, even though it is quite low, is already one of the conservation-oriented rate structures – uniform commodity pricing and including the fee for wastewater disposal. Water pricing, therefore, will not an effective measure to efficiently manage future demand in Thika. Future water pricing should focus on how to address equity issue in water supply (GoK, 1992) Improving structural efficiency of Thika water utilities such as leak detecting and network maintenance will be the much more effective ways of water management. Urban household water use survey also suggests that retrofit and leakage detection and repairing have the greatest potential to reduce residential water demand in Thika. To replace exiting toilet with the water-saving one will result in 30 percent water reduction. If a leaking faucet is repaired, one to six cubic meters (multiply by 1000 litters) of water can be saved. 13

According to the estimation of World Bank (World Development Report, 1992), if water conservation will be adopted as an alternative to expanding supply in Thika through improving efficiency in public facilities, reducing leakage, recycling air conditioning cooling water and installing water-efficient flush toilet in domestic use, 15 percent of current domestic consumption could be achieved. If the same policy could be carried out in industry as well, another 33 percent of current industrial consumption would be saved. Increasing user fees as one of the water reform measures will surly expand the revenue for water utility. Municipal government should establish a stable financial source to ensure the continuous improvement of social infrastructure including municipal water. Because of the under-investment before reform era, Thika municipal government for many years to come should still commit to the ethic of growth in basic infrastructure service.



The overall objectives of the following proposed water policy recommendations for Thika is to facilitate water planning and management reform so as to secure long-term water supplies while meeting strict criteria for public health requirements and for socioeconomic, financial and environmental sustainability. They are focused specifically on the acute problems of water supply planning and management in Thika and its hosting river basin, and are aimed to encourage: water recycling and sustainable concept; the appropriate development of conventional and non-conventional water resources; a marked improvement in the efficiency of water use; and an effective management of water demand in the long-run (UNESCO and UN Habitat, 2006).Seven main policy recommendations for municipal water planning and management are presented, which could be implemented through varied programs and reforms: legal and institutional, planning and analysis, water recycling and environmental protection, water conservation and efficiency as well as protecting underground water resource.


First, the Central Government should set up a centralized and basin based management to assume responsibility within the hydrological boundary for proper planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, finance and ownership of water and wastewater related waterworks. The scarce water resources and severe water pollution in Thika and its surrounding area are aggravated by the segregation of water management according to administration boundary rather than by hydrological one. Recent efforts to increase efficiency of water management reaffirm that the important prerequisite to effective metropolitan water resources planning and management is the creation of an adequate metropolitan and regional structure to conduct this planning and implement it in the management. The regionalization of the management can result in major economics of scale and only the regional authority can identify and evaluate these economies. This regional arrangement by its structural advantage will integrate water supply and wastewater service as well as urban and rural water supply and demand management, implemented unified water policies aiming at basin wide efficient water use (Tsakiris, 2002). Water legislation is closely linked with the development of other natural resources, especially in regions such as Thika where environmental conditions are vulnerable and sensitive to deterioration because of its aggressive use of water resources. There is an urgent need to critically review all existing legislation and how they relate to the policy options under review. The main areas of legislation that require amendment cover water rights, water abstraction, water quality and environmental standards, water charges, water pollution and environment protection, groundwater protection from depletion and contamination, wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal. The effective implementation of new policies by regional authority is crucial in water management. A compulsory environment impact analysis procedure should be established for evaluate any future water projects on water resources and environment (Siebel, 2002 and Wilderer 2003) Second, the regional authority should formulate basin wide supply demand analysis and modelling; build up comprehensive hydrological data base for planning and decision-


making. Individual municipality in the basin traditionally prepare its own water supply planning without much consideration of potential regional water resources. Lacking a regional water resource planning, many of the action plans are insufficient in minimize negative regional impacts. For example, the most recent Sustainable Water Resource Planning of Thika in the Beginning of 21st Century which was finished by the end of 1999 is also week in regional aspect (UNEP/GRID, 2025). The altered planning context and changing demand pattern call for an authoritative and comprehensive basin water plan to guide future water resource development. A full inventory of the existing quantity and quality of water resources, along with time series for demand trend analysis and to calculate design parameters for waterworks should be determined. Water data collection should be well planned and continuous to provide information for assessing the performance of water schemes after implementation and their basin wide effect. The development of additional water resources in the region will require well planned, detailed and integrated studies of the potential for surface, groundwater and non-conventional water resources, and cooperation between member provinces in these studies. Only then can the most appropriate and economically feasible options be selected from among the many recognized techniques, including wastewater reuse, water diversion, surface storage, groundwater recharge, rational exploitation of groundwater aquifers, and use of sea water. There are strong links between regional economies and water resource management. Regional development strategies - for example strategies for rice self-sufficiency - directly influence water allocation and use in the region. The basic guideline should be to encourage the import of water intensive products from other regions and export less water consumptive goods out of this region. Economic incentives could provide effective instruments for rationalizing water use. Conservation-oriented water rate structure should be undertaken careful study to determine both its demand management impact and revenue trend in the region. Finally, any proposed projects and programs must undergo comprehensive review and assessment before implementation, including cost-benefit analysis, cost effectiveness analysis, environmental impact assessment and economic and financial analysis.


Third, Water recycling should be the crux of any water policies in this region and should be adopted as the fundamental way to solve water shortage, protect environment and maintenance the sustainable water resources development in future. Vulnerable water situation in terms of both scarce water supply and severely polluted water environment in Thika, to a great extend, is the direct result of aggressive and wasteful water use in the past (GoK, 1986). Water recycling is proved to be the only fundamental solution to the regional water problem by augmenting source of supply while improving environmental quality. The long non-potable wastewater reuses history, large over mining area of groundwater aquifer, geographical location of major municipalities as well as dominated agricultural water use in this region provide an advantageous situation for a promising wastewater reuse in Thika region in future. Regionally managed reuse practice will eventually defer huge capital investment currently under consideration and low the pressure for future water sources protection and rejuvenate the deteriorating and fragile urban ecological system (Acher et.al1997). Fourth, Water conservation and efficiency improvement should be reassessed as longterm methods and be integrated into the long-term water supply and demand planning and management. Conservation and efficiency improvement are widely considered as short-term alternatives in the drought conditions among Thika and other municipalities in the region. Water conservation and efficiency efforts are also partly adopted in the urban area only. With the increasing demands on limited water resources, these water conservation and efficiency improvement methods need to be reassessed as long-term measures and comprehensively implemented to reduce municipal water use (Andren, 2004). Public awareness is essential to the success of a water conservation and efficiency improvement program. A long term public education program is equally crucial as the conservation program itself. Meanwhile, the importance of the monitoring and evaluation of the programs should also be recognized. Fifth, conserving groundwater resources should be considered as the basic way to protect Thika and its hosting region from any drought conditions. Based on the groundwater supply capacity a long term contingency water supply plan should be prepared. In the


past several decades, groundwater has always been the last restore for municipalities such as Thika to survive the drought conditions. In the future, ground water merit even more protection to serve the same purpose for the region. But long time un conservative use seriously compromise its sustainability. Over-drafted groundwater aquifers are very popular in the entire region. Actively preserving the groundwater should be one of the priorities in the water resource development in the region. Rural groundwater management is the vacuum of segmented water system. In fact, inefficient irrigation systems in rural areas drain out most of precious groundwater resources. Under the centralized management of the regional authority, a universal metering program should be implemented. A real cost based resource fee and license tariff should be levied for any use and well-digging. Meanwhile, a groundwater conservation fund should be established by each host municipality to release earmarked fund for subsiding groundwater based irrigated agriculture. Sixth, Water supply capacity in the region should be integrated with other urban planning and development activities. Water supply plan should be the guideline for future urban development and its possible economic and urban restructuring as well. Basin calls for the changing status of water supply and sewage planning in urban planning and policy hierarchy. Each year, municipalities suffer from huge economic loss because there are not enough water neither for the full operation of industrial sectors nor for agricultural irrigation (Dunne, 1978). On the other hand, however, many urban planning activities such as urban development trend analysis, urban economic development study and urban land use plan fail to give due and first consideration to local water supply capacity. Many cities usually plan their land use and development first and then prepare the water supply and sewage planning to meet passively the increasing water demand and wastewater volume. Future water policies should prioritize water and sewage planning as one of the top fields in the hierarchy of urban planning and policy. Water supply and wastewater treatment capacity should be one of the determinants to future urban pattern and development and one of the criteria for regional economic restructure.


Seventh, each municipal government in the basin should contribute a stable amount of financial resource to be earmarked as the common water fund to be utilized by regional authority in order to maintain efficient water supply wastewater service and integrated water resources management. The implementation of effective and efficient policies governing water resources is greatly hindered by the shortage of financial resources in the past especially those of the conservation initiatives in agriculture. Future sustainable water policies must have positive impacts on municipal government finances in the region from new tax revenues, prices and charges, and the reduction of urban subsidies. New water policies should also help to eliminate the negative impact of urban bias and shift the subsidizing focus from city to rural on agricultural water conservation and efficiency improvement (Ellis, 1988). Restructured water pricing to reflect the true costs, including environmental costs, of maintaining and operating water supply works and wastewater treatment plants. Meanwhile, by setting economic charges for water polluters with pollution charges proportional to the volume and the quality of effluent, the industrial water pollution can be effectively discouraged. The same caveat also applies for irrigation charges, which is based on metering consumption, area irrigated, type of crop, or length of irrigation time.


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