Managers of water are not publishing sufficient information regarding its supply.
During talks about a 2011 report by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, donors at the Annual Water Sector Conference said the document had missing data even after donors provided funds for tabulation.
The report, Annual Water Sector Review (2010-2011) has various regions where there was “No Data” on the progress made by the ministry to supply more people with safe water.
For instance, it shows that last year, 1,601,184 more people were served with safe drinking water around the country by the eight water services boards. But in areas served by the Ewaso-Ngiro North Water Services Board, there is no indication of how many more got on the pipeline or got access to safe boreholes.
The board serves the North Eastern region.
On Monday, the donors called for comprehensive reporting on how the ministry is using money it receives from them as a condition to future funding. “There is huge lack of figures,” said a representative from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).
Others, called for an outline of the time in which the government expects to stop depending on donors to fund water projects.
The World Bank has agreed to give Kenya $500 million (Sh40 billion) to further expand clean water provision in the next eight years. But activists argued the money might not be used well going by previous undertakings.
“Kenya is a developing country and we are not going to stop engaging the donors,” said Mr John Nyaora, the director of water resources in the ministry.
He argued that most of the regions had no data due to many years of neglect in the water and irrigation services, a thing that made it difficult to record correct information.
The donors were advancing the demands they made on Wednesday at the start of the workshop.
“The water sector suffers from lack of accountability and too much political interference,” charged Mr Jacos Mebius, the outgoing chairman of the Water Sector Technical Group.
The group incorporates donors and NGOs who have been main players in supporting the government to provide safe drinking water.
Mr Mebius, who was addressing delegates, said the ministry had not been able to improve its management partly because of politicians.
However, the ministry disagreed with the claims saying Water ministry was among the most transparent institutions in the country. Water permanent secretary David Stower initially refused to be drawn in the accusations, saying Mr Mebius was only making an opinion.
“Jacos has given his views on how partners see our water sector. I think it’s upon us here to view his statement and see how we can move forward.”
But later, he added that his ministry had been collaborating with other organisations who audit the way the monies are spent.
“We in the water sector have been extremely transparent. If (the civil society) are honest, they should come here and give us a pat on our backs,” he said.
Mr Stower said the donors erred in comparing his ministry with other departments where “nothing good comes out” saying other institutions were being used to taint the ministry.
The Ministry of Water was last year dogged with a scandal in which Sh6 billion was said to have been misused in procurement.
And donors have been important in improving supply of water, especially to rural and arid regions.
In the current financial year, foreign financiers have accounted for at least Sh26 billion of the Sh42 billion the ministry was allocated. But there have been other contributions that seem to inform their annoyance. For instance, several organisations have come together to start a website that indicates how areas rank in water needs.
The site whose address is www.majidata.go.ke is a collaboration between the government through Water Sector Trust Fund, Google, University of Twente (Holland), UN-Habitat, German Development Bank and the regional Centre for Mapping of Resources and Development.
The site launched yesterday shows water supply patterns to 1,882 urban centres from the eight water services boards in the country, population, sanitation levels, drainage patterns and habitation patterns in the countryside.
According to them, these figures would help improve on the old system of water supply that was developed when the population was about 18 million.