Catalysing low cost green technologies for sustainable water service delivery in northern Kenya

Kenya water

This Technology Transfer Advances Kenya's

  • Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce its GHG emissions by 30% by 2030 relative to the Business-As-Usual scenario and in line with its sustainable development agenda, and to mainstream climate change adaptation into the water sector.  


Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF) is a Kenyan State Corporation established under the Water Act of 2002 with a mandate to assist in financing the provision of water services to areas of Kenya which are without adequate services. WSTF operates under the newly formed Ministry of Water and Irrigation Services. WSTF goal as set out in the Strategic Plan (2014-19) is ‘assured water resources availability and accessibility of water and sanitation by all’. WSTF has been financing water services, sanitation and water resources investments in Kenya across the 47 counties (Ref: Water act 2002)

Kenya’s national income is derived from environmental and natural resources agriculture, mining, forestry, fishing, water supply, tourism and energy - and the majority of people live in rural areas where they rely on these resources for their livelihoods. Currently, unsustainable traditional agricultural practices, over-exploitation of water resources, a rapidly growing economy, population growth and climate change put these limited resources under severe stress. Sustainable management of water resources and rangelands are particular issues in the dry areas of northern Kenya. Green growth, natural resource management and environmental sustainability have become vital for sustaining growth, jobs, and maintaining community resilience

WSTF has financed a number of rehabilitation or non-functional water projects. Green project designs would have been robust and require less operation and maintenance thereby having investments focusing on new/undeveloped areas. WSTF is in the forefront of ensuring sustainable water sector financing within the water sector which informs the need to approach the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and request assistance in; undertaking a feasibility study on green technologies and their sustainability in the water sector in Kenya; Exploring the potential for Public Private Partnership within the water sector in implementing green technologies.

A new Water Bill has been developed to align the sector to the 2010 Constitution. As per May 2015, the Bill is in Parliament awaiting the Third Reading. In the Water Bill, WSTF is retained as the Water Sector Trust Fund and as the water sector financing mechanism with a mandate to provide conditional and unconditional grants to Counties and to assist in financing  development and management of water services in marginalized and underserved areas, including:

  1. Community level initiatives for the sustainable management of water resources
  2. Development of water services in rural areas; and
  3. Development of water services in the under-served low income urban areas

From the inception of WSTF, 1,363,305 beneficiaries have been reached with an estimated value of Kshs. 1801 per person through financial support to approximately 533 no. Water Service Providers (WSPs) and Community Based Organizations projects. In terms of water resources management, a total of 402 no. WRUAs have been funded to implement catchment activities covering an average area of 40,200 Km2. (Ref: WSTF -Urban Programme Concept-  4th Quarterly  internal report FY 2014/2015, Page 6 and 7)

Water Resources User Associations (WRUAs), Water Service Providers and Community Based Organizations in Kenya, involved in development and management of water resources and water supply schemes, are faced which challenges of inadequate water quality and quantity to sustain domestic supply and other competitive uses like agriculture and industry. This is attributed to implementation of unsustainable technologies that are; Expensive to operate and maintain thus uneconomical; Inadequate and cannot withstand the climate change adverse effects thus affecting reliability of water and sanitation services and integrity of water/soil conservation structures. Current use of electricity or fossil fuel in pumping water and reliance on rain water harvesting technologies with little capacity to withstand evapotranspiration/ flooding challenges caused by recent extreme erratic rainfall patterns in Kenya, remains a live challenge in realizing impacts of WSTF financing to projects.

Generally, the inability of water infrastructure to withstand floods and dry weather conditions needs to be addressed through research and implementation of appropriate green technologies and overally to achieve climate adaptation within the water sector in Kenya.

CTCN Request Supported

The CTCN support services will be to collaborate on research on green technology for water services and water resources management with the research institute in Kenya, after which the CTCN will assist in developing a more intensive and in-depth research strategy, as well as in finding funding for continuing research.

The assistance will focus on four core activities:

  1. Development of an extensive water green technology research strategy on existing and potential low cost water green technologies to be adopted within WSTF programmes.
  2. Undertake a feasibility study on the appropriateness of available green technologies for different ecological/environmental contexts of Kenya, including piloting green water technologies in the various ecological zones in Kenya.
  3. Through capacity building workshop, strengthen WSTF and other climate change and green water technology national actors’ institutional capacity in identifying PPP opportunities and engaging the private sector in the water sector
  4. Develop a Public Private Partnership business model on the deployment of green water technologies in Kenya based on the feasibility study and identify funding opportunities (national and international co-investors, national and international funders).

Through the technical assistance, WTSF and CTCN will have contributed to the efforts to build a more climate resilient Kenya in water scarcity and access to water.

The CTCN will contribute to the development of a WSTF green technology strategy that will incorporate aspects of renewable energy, development of climate proof green technologies for improved water services, sanitation and water resources in Kenya and PPP mechanisms. It will engage national, regional partners and international policy-makers in a dialogue to reflect on potential multi-adaptations and policy gaps in water research. Assistance by the CTCN will strengthen WSTF’s scientific and technical capacity to promote and finance sustainable water green technologies. It will work with the Water/ Energy research institutes, as well as other regional and international centers for water research, WRUAs and WSPs on the basis of existing knowledge, scientific advice and practical evidence. Other possible research areas could include focusing on private sector engagement in financing green technologies in Kenya with specific focus on the water services and water conservation.

Relevant Technologies and Approaches

Expected benefits

Long term

  • WSTF research startegy on green technologies and public private partnership opportunities
  • Contribute towards improved infrastructure development in the target counties as a result of increased trade.
  • Cotribute towards reduction in poverty levels

Medium term

  • WSTF ongoing and upcoming programmes designed to adopt green technologies and address climate change impacts for instance the “Green growth programme” to be supported through DANIDA from 2016/2017.
  • Improved financing approaches and renewable energy technologies geared towards reduction on Operation & Maintenance for water infrastructure.
  • Contribute towards improved financing approaches and renewable energy technologies geared towards reduction on Operation & Maintenance (O&M) of water infrastructure.
  • Improved water access for Human and Livestock use.

Short term

  • Promote climate smart water services & water resources management approaches in Kenya.
  • Create a thriving environment for small business sector in financial lending for livestock products value addition
  • Contribute towards increased local employment as a result of off grid energy sources
  • Contribute towards  creation of small businesses / enterprises.


Date of submission
Geographical scope
Budget range

Project details

Cross-sectoral enabler
Economics and financial decision-making
Final type of assistance
Feasibility of technology options
Request NDE
Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute
UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre (UNEP-CCC)
National Institute of Green Technology (NIGT)
This technical assistance advances the following Sustainable Development Goals

Key documents