- Samantha Winters
Streamline: The Kenya Water Crisis: A Potential Solution?
Updated: Feb 12, 2022
Currently, Kenya is facing a massive Water crisis. Only 58% of the population has access to drinkable Water, but drinkable Water does not equal clean Water. This country is currently struggling with Water access and Water pollution. Since the mid-1900’s Kenya has deeply struggled with its Water crisis. The chemicals in the Water have caused digestive diseases, typhoid, respiratory diseases, and death. The Water quality has now killed over 1.6 million people across Kenya alone, and the pandemic has only made this problem worse. While already struggling with a lack of access, COVID-19 has further cut the number of resources available. However, a new study appears to provide hope for people living in Kenya.
Written by Johannes Haushofer, Michael Kremer, Ricardo Maertens, and Brandon Joel Tan, the paper titled “Water Treatment and Child Mortality: Evidence from Kenya” centers around a potential solution to a growing problem. This study analyzes data over the course of ten years in Kenya and suggests providing chlorine dispensers to clean the Water. These dispensers look similar to Water coolers and are placed next to a communal water source such as a well or naturally occurring body of Water. This proposed solution increases access and public use for the Kenyan community. The chlorine dispensers would filter unwanted chemicals out of these bodies of Water in order to make the Water safer for the local people.
Studies with these chlorine dispensers have shown a drastic decrease in child mortality rates and overall quality of health. These four men are currently working with multiple government programs to make this idea a reality.
After many decades of issues with Water access, why is Kenya still fighting for this fundamental human right? Unfortunately, Water access and filtration are expensive. The lofty cost has outweighed this basic human necessity. However, the Water filtration systems posed within this paper prove to be more cost-effective in the long run. For every 1,941 dollars, the cost of the dispenser, a life would be saved. In wealthier countries, this cost would seem minuscule but in poorer countries like Kenya, this is an astronomical cost.
The main cause of the current predicament comes from mismanagement and a lack of resources. With continuous spurts of droughts and flooding, the Kenyan government has attempted to provide solutions, over the years. However, many of these solutions proved to be small bandaids to a larger problem. While Kenya does the best with the resources that the country has, they ideally would ideally rely on private investors and other overseas financial support to provide more funding. With a lack of outside intervention and inside resources, the people of Kenya are forced to drink and use polluted Water.
At Water& we believe that all humans deserve to have access to clean Water. Although this issue has become more public in recent years due to efforts by the UN, it should not have taken decades to reach that conclusion. How high must the mortality rate get before this becomes dire? No one should be killed for simply drinking Water.