Impacts of Water and Sanitation Activities on the Environment in the Upper Mara Basin

H. N. Ngugi, P.G. Home, U.N. Mutwiwa


The provision of reliable and safe water supplies is an essential element in improving the quality of life for mankind. However, over time the natural resource base has become severely stressed due to unsustainable use of the resources. This study was undertaken to evaluate the impacts of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities on the environment in the upper Mara River basin. Sampled water and sanitation projects were identified by observation and Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to map and report on these projects. Impacts of the projects on land and environmental quality were assessed using Land Quality Indicators (LQI); fresh water quality, solid and liquid waste generation and management and soil erosion. Water samples were analyzed for physical, chemical and bacteriological parameters and only 23.4% of sampled water sources were found suitable as domestic water sources. Most open water sources were contaminated with E. Coli caused by open defecation in the basin which on average was 38%. The study showed that, 21.3% of the sampled water supply projects had evidence of soil erosion around them which was mainly caused by livestock overcrowding at water points. Among the wastewater generating and management activities in upper Mara basin, Bomet municipal stabilization pond posed the greatest pollution threat to the environment since it lacked capacity to treat waste water to standards before it overflowed into the environment. This study recommended that WASH project implementers, users and managers should plan for and implement environmentally sustainable projects. In addition, WASH stakeholders in the basin should make comprehensive efforts to provide improved water sources and sanitation to all the residents.

Keywords: Water, Sanitation, Environment, Impacts

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5790 ISSN (Online)2225-0514

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