IMPACT OF WATER ACCESS ON SUSTAINABLE RURAL LIVELIHOODS: A CASE OF ELEMENTAITA DIVISION IN NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA
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ABSTRACT

This study was carried to out to assess water access factors that impact sustainable rural livelihoods in Elementaita Division, Nakuru County. Owing to several factors, the problem of water access remains a multi-million challenge for families in rural areas and this had to be explained in scientific research through assessing water issues that affect the livelihoods. Households remain far from water projects despite interventions that governments, NGOs and other agencies have put in place. The study had sought to address the following objectives; assess water access factors and its impact on sustainable rural livelihoods, evaluate management of water projects and determine how it impacts on sustainable livelihoods and to determine how socio-economic factors of water impact rural livelihoods in Elementaita Division. The study used sustainable livelihood framework in its analysis and establishing what areas of interventions would be considered for the study. This includes looking at assets, capital, livelihood strategies, institutional processes and vulnerability context. The design for the study was descriptive survey where questionnaires were generated on related areas of study and individuals were selected through probability sampling. Sampling for household was carried out through systematic sampling. The study targeted a sample 195 household heads, 1 water users association also a Key Informant Interview (KII) was carried out with District Water Officer (DWO) and District Public Health Officer (DPHO). Data collection was carried out using questionnaires, interviews, reviewed secondary data, and descriptive survey. The data was analysed using inferential statistics by use of descriptive statistics. The findings were presented in tables using frequency and percentages. From the findings water availability, quality and affordability determine the level of households assets in the community thereby impact negatively or positively. Over 98% of the respondents reported that children walk long distances or do not attend school in order to fetch water for the households, this impact negatively on their mental and physical development as well as their education. There is need to carry out awareness on the implication of using water of poor quality in the community as it may have adverse health effects on the lives of the community. Increasing awareness levels on rain water harvesting by the community need to be enhanced to improve on quality of water. Parents should also ensure that their children access education and not engage in child labour. The findings and recommendations will be shared by Ministry of Water and Ministry of Education, researchers, all stakeholders and the community of Elementaita Division and Nakuru County in general to enhance service delivery and address root causes of some of the challenges identified.