Effects of water source accessibility and reliability improvements on water consumption in eastern Nairobi
Under the commitments of the UN Sustainable Development targets, there is increasing pressure on water utility providers in developing countries to improve their levels of service to consumers, especially for the rapidly growing numbers of people with lower incomes who reside in urban informal settlements. However, pressure on water resources in many regions is simultaneously increasing owing to factors such as pollution, agricultural needs, and climate change. It is therefore important to assess the impacts of improving water services on city-wide water resources. This study examines consumption data from the East African city of Nairobi, collected from households of a variety of residential neighbourhoods. The study suggests that average per capita water consumption is closely related to water source choice (i.e. tap in the dwelling, yard tap, or water vendor kiosks). Within categories of water source type, variables such as household wealth, cost of water, and education do not have significant effects on per capita consumption. It is noted that increased accessibility of water causes the upper bound of consumption to rise, but not the lower. It may therefore be theorized that having a tap in a dwelling is necessary but not sufficient to increase per capita consumption. Within the sample examined, there is no statistically significant difference in per capita consumption between water source types other than a tap in a dwelling, and it is therefore suggested that providing a yard tap to those currently without any form of water connection may have negligible impact on city-wide water consumption.