Bridging the sanitation data gap in Nakuru, Kenya

by Emanuel Owako (WSUP), Sam Drabble (WSUP) Dewi Rimayani Hanoum (UN Habitat) and Zaituni Kanenje (NAWASSCO)

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In the city of Nakuru, Kenya, there is a shared understanding among decision-makers of the urgent requirement to bridge the sanitation data gap. Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company (NAWASSCO) is the main utility in Nakuru County, and the mandated authority for water and sanitation service provision in the city of Nakuru. NAWASSCO’s responsibilities are devolved from Nakuru County Government, which has responsibility to undertake county public works and services including water and sanitation services and stormwater management systems in urban areas.

Responsibilities for water and sanitation services in Nakuru are underpinned by the County Government Act 2012 and subsequently by the Nakuru County Water Policy 2017 and the Nakuru County Updated Integrated Development Plan (2018–2022), which aim to ensure effective and responsive basic service provision including pro-poor targeting.
Under the decentralization of water and sanitation functions to NAWASSCO, the utility is responsible for provision of water and sanitation services (sewered and onsite) within the area specified in the license. Faecal waste emptying services are provided by the private sector companies, which are contracted by NAWASSCO. The utility is responsible for wastewater and septage treatment and disposal in the city, and for the development of assets for service provision.

Relating to industrial wastewater, the Kenya Water Act (2016), Environmental Management Coordination Act (EMCA 1999), the EMCA Water Quality Regulations (2006) and WASREB Water Quality and Trade Effluent Guidelines require those discharging effluent into the sewerage system to meet effluent discharge requirements. These standards are enforced by the Water Service Providers (NAWASSCO in Nakuru), which have the power to institute measures to monitor and control the quality of trade effluent discharged into their sewerage systems.

This case study details how NAWASSCO is collaborating with the national regulator Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB) to develop a new tool to provide the basis for enhanced sanitation data management and informed sanitation investment planning.

Geographic information



City and population:

Nakuru: 512,100


  • Coordination within Nakuru County government on provision of effective sanitation services has been lacking. In addition, the budget for sanitation services is limited and mostly directed toward solid waste management.
  • The wider regulatory environment for sanitation involves overlapping and sometimes conflicting mandates.
  • Standards for on-site sanitation as well as newer simplified sewerage systems are still to be formalized.
  • Information management systems to support effective compliance monitoring and performance reporting are lacking.


  • The regulatory authority, WASREB, developed national-level onsite sanitation guidelines, which are complemented by the Nakuru County Public Health and Sanitation regulations and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
  • To increase access to improved and safely management sanitation and hygiene, dedicated budget for sanitation and wastewater management is estimated and reflected in the Nakuru Sanitation Investment Plan 2030. In addition, the utility is collaborating with WASREB to pilot a sanitation development fee to raise revenues for onsite sanitation services.
  • To improve sanitation data management in Nakuru and support effective long-term investment planning, NAWASSCO participated in a pilot of the Citywide Inclusive Sanitation Services and Planning (CWIS-SAP) tool, part of wider efforts to strengthen data management processes within the utility.

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Bridging the sanitation data gap in Nakuru, Kenya