The Millennium Cities Initiative have produced a very useful assessment of the water and sanitation situation in Kisumu whilst the Kenya Vision 2030 document lays out the strategic planning framework nationally.

Internationally, the United Nations/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme is responsible for monitoring access to safe water and related development targets. The site documents discussions concerning future monitoring plans and targets, particularly concerning monitoring safe access amongst the poorest households. There is also discussion as to whether ‘safe’ water access should be identified based on source type (so a borehole would be considered safe, but an unprotected spring unsafe for example), or whether source quality should be incorporated. Borehole or piped water can sometimes be microbiologically or chemically contaminated, but monitoring this contamination is potentially very costly.

Groundwater contamination, sanitation, and exposure to contamination
In earlier work in Kisumu, we looked at the relationship between the density of pit latrines around wellheads and contamination with nitrate, chloride and bacteria. We found a relationship between nitrate and chloride and latrine density, but not for bacterial contamination. More generally, the ARGOSS project generated guidance on planning groundwater sources and onsite sanitation, whilst a recent review on Pit Latrines and Their Impacts on Groundwater Quality examined this issue globally.

We recently looked at whether rich and poor households using the same type of water source were exposed to different levels of contaminants and having examined evidence from several countries we found a mixed picture. In Bangladesh, the poorest and wealthiest households using tubewells were similarly exposed to arsenic in groundwater, whereas poorer households using piped water in Peru were less likely to have chlorine in their drinking-water than wealthier households.

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