The Bar-Sauri Water and Sanitation MDG Experience: Lessons for Bungoma-Sikulu Water Project.Sinyerere Photos

Written by: The MDG Team – Sauri, Kenya
Prepared for adaptation to Sikulu and Sinyerere Villages by: David W.Nerubucha


The majority of household water is collected from springs and rainwater harvesting systems (when rain is available). Rainwater is considered an improved source. Springs, however, are considered either improved or unimproved depending on whether or not they have been protected. The water quality tests of various water sources in Sauri showed that even protected springs contained unsafe levels of feacal coli form bacteria.

From left to right, Prof. Francis W. Wambalaba, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research, Prof. Freida Brown, Vice-Chancellor, USIU, Ms. Akosa Wambalaba, Lecturer & Researcher, USIU, Mr. John Mafuta, Farmer, Bungoma, Mr. David W. Nerubucha, Lecturer & Researcher, USIU.

Most Recent Publication

The Determinants of Improved Water Supply for Rural Households in Kenya: A Differential Diagnosis Framework for Community Health

Types of Water Sources

Most Sauri house holds rely on a combination of sources to provide water for house hold use as shown in Table 1. Of the 285 house holds surveyed, 60.4% reported using two sources, 21.8% reported using three sources and 14% reported using just one source. Among the households using one water source (40 hhs), primary springs are the predominant water source used for collection (35 hhs).
Table 1. Number of water sources used per household

No. of water sources used

% of total households









The majority of households using two or three sources combine spring with additional source. Overall, most households in Sauri combine a primary spring with other water sources mainly rainwater harvesting systems as shown in Table 2).

Households reported collecting an average of 860 liters per week during the wet season and 880 liters a week during the dry season for all uses (household and otherwise). Most of the water collected by house holds for all uses comes from rainwater collection system and springs. In the wet season, 50.6% of water is collected from rainwater collection systems. This drops to 3.5% during the dry season – this can be attributed to lack of rainfall and long-term storage facilities. Springs provide 39% of water during the wet season, which shifts to 85% in the dry season, indicating a much heavier reliance on springs when rainwater is not available.

Table 2. Average % of total water collected by each household from each source (N=285)





Household well (hand dug shallow well)



Communal or cooperative water tank



Rainwater collection/harvesting system



Primary spring



Other springs



River or stream



Private water tap







 Access to Water

Long distances to water sources and large amounts of time spent collecting water are major obstacles to improving community health and economy. Time spent collecting water could otherwise be spent on economic activities, child rearing, educational activities, etc. WHO has shown that when it takes more than a 30 minute trip to reach a water source, the amount of water collected is not adequate to reach the minimum amount required for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene (WHO/UNICEF, 2005)1.

According to a baseline report approximately60.7% of the households in Sauri cluster have sustainable access to an improved water source. However 46% of the households use untreated water. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out a water quality analysis is even at household level.  This is because as much as households take water from the same wells or a source there is likelihood that most do not treat water.  The average distance to the water source is 370 m and 429 m in wet season and dry season respectively.
The number of households that have access to an improved water source are those that satisfy the following conditions:

  • Households collect at least 20 litres per capita for domestic use only in both wet and dry seasons; and
  • Water sources used are at a distance less than 1,000m from household.

For Sauri, all reported water sources are at distances of less than 1,000 m from the household. Thus water access is determined by the quantity of water available per capita (litres/day) in both the wet and dry season. According to a baseline water survey,  155 households (N=290) did not have the minimum 20 litres per capita daily for both wet and dry seasons. Therefore, 46.6% of the households did not have an acceptable access to a water source.

Water and Sanitation Sector Objectives

Main Cluster Goal

The main cluster goal is that in 5 years, the target community will have access to and manage effectively safe and sufficient quantities of water for drinking and other household needs.  That water will also be closer to households relieving much of the burden now borne by women and children.Capacity building activities to promote healthy hygiene and sanitation practices will improve community health and reduce disease burden.

Sector Objective

The overall sector objective is based on MDGs target 10, i.e to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Some of the other related MDGs targets are:

  • To provide water for irrigation and aquaculture to enhance achievement of target 2, i.e. to reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger; and
  • To provide good quality and adequate water to reduce the burden of women (gender equality and women empowerment) and health risks especially of children under age of 5 (reduce child mortality rate).

Specific objectives

The specific objectives and goals are:

  • That 50% (25,300 persons) shall have access to clean and safe water in adequate quantity .(access and quantity is that suggested by WHO, 20 l/per day/per at a distance of less than 1,000 m).
  • Ensure minimal contamination for all primary springs in the Cluster - that 300 water springs shall be protected, and spring catchments conserved.
  • Ensure that all the 28 primary schools have functional rainwater harvesting systems by June 2008.
  • Rainwater harvesting systems installation in 50% of the households (8,800) in cluster.
  • Households, community learning resource centres will have access to improved 9., affordable and sustainable sanitation facilities with a maximum usage of 20 people and within a distance of 50 m. 2,000 VIP latrines (1-door) constructed households in the Cluster.
  • All schools in the Cluster will have access to adequate sanitation facilities which are gender sensitive. 324 VIP latrines blocks (each with 4-door) constructed in primary schools in the Cluster.
  • That 50% of (5,000) households shall be aware of basic water treatment methods – use of water treatment chemicals and physical interventions (e.g. boiling, filtration, etc).

Proposed MDG Alignment & Interventions for the Sikulu Water Project

In order to achieve MDG goals and objectives, the following interventions, among others in water related sectors, will be carried out.

Assessment and Mapping of Water Resources

To identify viable water sources and exploitation technologies the following activities will be undertaken: (see related progress reports)

  • Assessment of water resources – baseline survey
  • Mapping of existing water supply systems
  • Assessments of rainwater harvesting systems (RWHS) in schools
  • Assessment for fish ponds potential
  • Assessment of sanitation facilities in the schools
  • Hydro-geophysical investigations – groundwater resources
Monitoring Plan and Evaluation:  Bar-Sauri Plan of Action

The community shall participate in the monitoring and evaluation of water & sanitation interventions. Participatory monitoring and evaluation has the following benefits:

  • Promotes sharing of resources and ideas
  • Creates community ownership of ideas, processes and end-results
  • Leads to empowerment – it is a capacity building process
  • Leads to sustainability
  • Increases and maintains implementation speed




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