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Water 2015, 7(10), 5437-5457; doi:10.3390/w7105437

Sustainable Supply of Safe Drinking Water for Underserved Households in Kenya: Investigating the Viability of Decentralized Solutions

1
Technische Universität München, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, Freising 85354, Germany
2
Siemens Stiftung, Kaiserstr. 16, Munich 80801, Germany
3
Institute for Advanced Study, Technische Universität München, Lichtenbergstraße 2a, Garching D-85748, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Kreamer
Received: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 8 October 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
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Abstract

Water quality and safe water sources are pivotal aspects of consideration for domestic water. Focusing on underserved households in Kenya, this study compared user perceptions and preferences on water-service provision options, particularly investigating the viability of decentralized models, such as the Safe Water Enterprise (SWE), as sustainable safe drinking water sources. Results showed that among a number of water-service provision options available, the majority of households regularly sourced their domestic water from more than one source (86% Ngoliba/Maguguni, 98% Kangemi Gichagi). A majority of households perceived their water sources to be unsafe to drink (84% Ngoliba/Maguguni, 73% Kangemi Gichagi). For this reason, drinking water was mainly chlorinated (48% Ngoliba/Maguguni, 33% Kangemi Gichagi) or boiled (42% Ngoliba/Maguguni, 67% Kangemi Gichagi). However, this study also found that households in Kenya did not apply these household water treatment methods consistently, thus indicating inconsistency in safe water consumption. The SWE concept, a community-scale decentralized safe drinking water source, was a preferred option among households who perceived it to save time and to be less cumbersome as compared to boiling and chlorination. Willingness to pay for SWE water was also a positive indicator for its preference by the underserved households. However, the long-term applicability of such decentralized water provision models needs to be further investigated within the larger water-service provision context. View Full-Text
Keywords: consistency; decentralization; safe water; small-scale systems; Safe Water Enterprises (SWE) consistency; decentralization; safe water; small-scale systems; Safe Water Enterprises (SWE)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cherunya, P.C.; Janezic, C.; Leuchner, M. Sustainable Supply of Safe Drinking Water for Underserved Households in Kenya: Investigating the Viability of Decentralized Solutions. Water 2015, 7, 5437-5457.

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