Evaluating the effect of Devolution on Performance of Water Service Provision in Kenya
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In 2010, Kenya passed a new Constitution that among other provisions, saw the introduction of a decentralization strategy. The decentralization process, which took effect in 2013 created two levels of government: the national and county level governments. This change made nationwide matters including policy and financial budgets the responsibility of the national government, while local needs such as delivery of various services including provision of water were made the responsibility of the 47 county level governments. The main objectives of this change were to bring the government to a community level, increase civic engagement, improve service delivery and quality. This research aimed to evaluate the effect of devolution on performance of County Governments in provision of water services. The research employed a systematic review and descriptive research design. This study primarily reviewed progress reports from government agencies of both levels of governments as well as independent institutions. Focused group discussions were held with all responsible National Government agencies, County Governments and all the key stakeholders. The study found out that devolution provides an opportunity to increase water service delivery through increased budgetary allocation to the sector and prioritization especially in the ASAL Counties. However, the current institutional and legislative environment instigates conflicts on the roles and responsibilities of National and County Government in Water Service Provision hindering the ability of counties to offer the service. In conclusion, the National and County Governments need to take radical steps to scale up investment in the sector; amend the Water Act 2016; develop a national water policy that conforms to the spirit of the constitution in order to address current financial, institutional and legislative gaps in water service provision and management.