Examining the Level of Illegal Water Consumption in High- and Low-Density Estates of Kisumu City, Kenya
Onyango, Teresa Aoko
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Water utilities around the world experience varying degrees of water loss and although there has been significant steps towards reducing it, water losses still occur often as a result of poor infrastructure which cause pipe bursts/leakages, lack of proper planning, water theft, illegal consumption and water meter irregularities. Illegal water consumption is rampant where the consumers have a negative attitude towards the water service providers mainly because of the belief that they are paying for a resource that is abundant and free in nature. The International Water Association classifies illegal consumption under commercial or apparent losses because the water is believed to have reached the consumer but it cannot be accounted for and hence does not contribute to the water utilities’ revenue. Cross-sectional survey was used to investigate the level of non-revenue water in Kisumu city’s high and low density estates using Manyatta and Milimani as a representation of each estate respectively. The survey targeted 384 households out of which 362 were interviewed. Primary data was also collected through Focused Group and supplemented with secondary of desk review from KIWASCO’s reports. The data collected was subjected to descriptive analysis and presented using frequencies and percentages. An Analysis of the data collected revealed that 31.7% and 26.8% of households in Manyatta and Milimani consumed water illegally through unmetered connections respectively, a further 28.9% of the respondents in Manyatta consumed water illegally through illegal reconnection after their water had been disconnected while this was represented by 30% in Milimani estate which is a clear indication that consumers in low density estates also consume water illegally contrary to what most people believe. 4 out of the 5 illegal water consumption determinants used by the researcher however indicated that the level of illegal consumption is higher in high density areas than low density areas by an average of 4.9% but also, it is evident the percentage is higher in the two estates than the recommended 25%. The paper therefore recommends that assumptions should not be made that there are no cases of illegal water use in low density areas if the water utility is to realize its goal of reducing non-revenue water loss to acceptable levels because these areas contribute to nonrevenue water loss just as much as the high-density areas and even though the number of illegal uses maybe low but the intensity may surpass that of high-density neighborhoods.