The Water Problem

BACKGROUND

Kenya’s eastern low plains rise to central highlands bisected by the Great Rift Valley in the west. Kenya’s southern district is also administratively marked by the Great Rift Valley Province of Kenya.   Over 50 percent of Kenyans are living below the poverty line.  The HIV/AIDS pandemic has compounded the deteriorating health standards and resulted in growing destitution, and unprecedented levels of poverty.  The water crisis in Kenya is disrupting social and economic activities throughout the targeted areas.  Unfortunately, the current wave of droughts and water shortages in Kenya as a whole is expected to continue.  The water crisis is due not only to the wave of droughts and poor management of the water supply – under-investment, unfair allocation of water, rampant deforestation, pollution of water supplies by untreated sewage, and a huge population explosion.  Kenya is limited by an annual renewable fresh water supply of only 647 cubic meters per capita, and is classified as a water scarce country.

 

THE WATER PROBLEM

In Kenya, as in much of Africa, the lack of safe drinking water causes many severe problems including dehydration, starvation and disease.  The daily chore of fetching water is no small task in rural Kenya, and young women often walk as far as 10 - 20 Kilometers to collect whatever water they can from a polluted, dirty, hand-dug well, full of parasites and bacteria.  These wells are also structurally dangerous and often collapse when they get deep enough.

 In Kenya, the high mortality rate among children under five years old is primarily due to waterborne diseases such as gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, malaria, and amoebic dysentery, to name just a few.  Contamination from human and livestock waste is also a major cause of water- related diseases, despite the sanitary disposal methods of most of the population.  Flies and other disease-carrying insects are drawn to unsanitary water sites and compound the risk of infection.  All of these problems are exacerbated by the fact that economic hardship, inadequate education and lack of public transport prevent many individuals from seeking healthcare in the early stages of an illness. The Medishare Africa will be addressing all these challenges to better transform lives.

University of Nairobi