Among the most basic services and infrastructure are those related to water. Inequalities in access to improved sources of water are indicative of severe deprivation. The quality of water is related to the source – improved or unimproved. Improved water sources are less prone to contamination and hence are safer. Access to safe drinking water is critical for the health outcomes of individuals and households. Improved water sources include piped water, rain harvested water, borehole water and water from protected wells. Unimproved water sources include water from rivers or streams, dams, ponds, lakes, unprotected wells, unprotected springs, jabia, water vendors and other sources. Profiling households’ access to water facilities will inform relevant authorities about the magnitude of the problem and highlight geographical areas for priority interventions.
Figure 2.31: Source of water at the national level and by rural /urban
As illustrated in figure 2.31, just over 50 percent of Kenyans have improved sources of water. The highest access is in urban areas where 72 percent of the population has access to improved sources of water meaning that individuals in urban areas have one and half times more access to improved water sources than their rural counterparts. Twenty five percent of water in Kenya is piped (6 percent of which is in dwellings). Only 0.7 percent of the population in Kenya collect rain water.
Figure 2.32: Improved and unimproved sources of water by county
As illustrated in figure 2.32, in Nairobi County, 8 out of every 10 people have access to improved water sources. This is 4 times more access to improved water sources than people living in Narok County, where only 2 out of every 10 people have access to improved sources of water. The constituency with the highest access to improved water sources is Embakasi North at 93.5 percent. Garissa Township Constituency (92.7 percent) and Dadaab Constituency (91.5 percent), both in Garissa County are in second and third place respectively in accessing improved water sources.