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Improving the Reliability of Water Service Delivery in Rural Kenya through Professionalized Maintenance: A System Dynamics Perspective

  • Pranav Chintalapati*
    Pranav Chintalapati
    Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado 80309, United States
    *Email: [email protected]
  • Cliff Nyaga
    Cliff Nyaga
    Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, U.K.
    FundiFix Limited, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
    More by Cliff Nyaga
  • Jeffrey P. Walters
    Jeffrey P. Walters
    Department of Civil Engineering, University of Washington Tacoma, Tacoma, Washington 98402, United States
  • Johanna Koehler
    Johanna Koehler
    Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, U.K.
    Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam 1081 HV, The Netherlands
  • Amy Javernick-Will
    Amy Javernick-Will
    Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado 80309, United States
  • Rob Hope
    Rob Hope
    Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, U.K.
    More by Rob Hope
  • , and 
  • Karl G. Linden
    Karl G. Linden
    Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado 80309, United States
Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56, 23, 17364–17374
Publication Date (Web):November 23, 2022
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.2c00939
Copyright © 2022 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    Reliable water service delivery continues to be a complex global issue that is particularly challenging in rural communities. Despite billions of dollars of infrastructure interventions, sustainable water services remain out of reach for millions of people. Professionalized maintenance services have emerged as a service provision strategy to supplement the community-based rural water management approach. This study applies system dynamics modeling to assess the potential impact of scaling up professionalized maintenance services on piped water systems in Kitui County, Kenya. The study results show that over a 10 year simulation, calibrated with 21 months of empirical data and based on a range of key assumptions, delivery of professionalized maintenance services across the county may increase countywide functionality rates from 54% to over 83%, leading to a 67% increase in water production. Furthermore, the increase in preventive maintenance activities and proactive repairs can lead to less frequent major breakdowns and reduction in county government spending on major repairs by over 60%. However, current service fee income from communities accounts for 8% of the total cost of service, necessitating substantial sustained external financing or government subsidies to be financially viable at scale.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.2c00939.

    • County repair spending; qualitative data collection and analysis; description of modeling of scale-up of services; causal loop diagram and description; stock-flow model and descriptions; model calibration and testing details; FundiFix scale-up dynamics; table of model parameters, equations, and units; and boundary table of endogenous, exogenous, and excluded variables (PDF)

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