Right to water, is a right to everyone

By Shillah Raymond

World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on March 22nd to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year’s theme, “Valuing Water,” highlights the importance of water not only as a resource but also as a cultural, social, and economic good. In Kenya, the theme is particularly relevant to the millions of people living in slums who struggle to access safe and clean water.

Slums in Kenya are characterized by inadequate housing, poor sanitation, and limited access to clean water. The majority of slum residents depend on informal water sources, rain and boreholes, which are often contaminated with sewage and other pollutants. This lack of access to clean water has serious health consequences, as waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid are prevalent in these areas. The Ministry of Health announced Cholera outbreak in Kenya early this year 2023.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that many slum residents cannot afford to pay for water, and those who can often pay exorbitant prices for water from private vendors. According to the United Nations, the average cost of water in Nairobi’s slums is 10 times higher than in the city’s wealthier neighborhoods. This leaves many families with no choice but to resort to unsafe water sources, which puts their health at risk.

One solution to this problem is to invest in infrastructure that provides safe and clean water to slum residents. This includes drilling boreholes and laying pipelines to bring water to the communities. The Kenyan government, along with international organizations such as UNICEF and Water.org, has made some progress in improving water access in slums. However, more needs to be done to ensure that all residents have access to clean water.

Another approach is to promote the use of water treatment technologies such as filters and chlorine tablets to help residents purify water from informal sources. This can be done through education campaigns that teach people about the importance of treating water before consumption and how to use water treatment technologies effectively.

World Water Day serves as a reminder that access to clean water is a basic human right. In Kenya’s slums, lack of access to clean water is a serious problem that affects millions of people. While progress has been made in improving water access in these areas, more needs to be done to ensure that all residents have access to safe and clean water. Investing in infrastructure and promoting the use of water treatment technologies are just a few of the steps that can be taken to address this critical issue.

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