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Walking distance in different seasons.


Kilifi is a region situated on the Kenyan coast. It has an arid and semi-arid climate which makes it experience uneven amount of rainfall throughout the region also rainfall is bi-modal, meaning the year is divided in rainy season and dry season. Due to this the region encounters drought, floods and shortage of available water. Moreover, as it is situated on the coast, the climate change effects the sea level rise which contaminates the groundwater sources, aggravating the water scarcity problem. All these factors have an effect of the quality of life of the inhabitants. This research stresses the water problem in the region and how it affects the population. Therefor our main question is:

"How water affects the daily life of households in Bomani?"


In order to discover the water related problems, we first looked at water on country level to understand the national situation, then zoomed into Kilifi county to better analyze the problems present on the region, further we looked into households located in Bomani village to see how is the water distributed there.


All water in Kenya originated from 5 main water sources: Mount Kenya(1), the Aberdare Range(2), the Mau Forest Complex(3), Mount Elgon(4) and the Cherangani Hills(5). Kenya has a total area of about 582 646 km2 , of which about 1.9% is water. For more rural areas the people are not only cut of from the economic centers with more improved water infrastructure, but also physically further away from the water they need.

The country’s freshwater resources consist of lakes, rivers, swamps, springs, as well as dams, reservoirs 
and groundwater. There are three main river sources in the country: the escarpment and highlands 
east of rift valley (Aber-dares), highlands west of the rift valley (Mau) and Mt. Kenya. Mt. Elgon & 
Kili-manjaro. This map shows the source of each river and the watershed area.


Droughts and floods:

Despite its location along the equator, Kenya faces extreme variations in climate due to its various landforms. The variable climate brings frequent droughts as well as floods.

Water and transport

Kenya’s rivers could be better used as transportation to provide cheaper and more efficient methods of furthering goods

Water and population

Kenya’s rising population is one of the main drivers behind the slow progress in water and sanitation provision and in the increasing demand for water resources and their degradation.

Water and gender

Economically and socially vulnerable groups such as women, the elderly and children often experience significant negative impacts from water scarcity. It is the responsibility of women to collect water. In times of scarcity, this is a huge burden.

Water and sanitation

Many Kenyans use wells to obtain water for domestic use and also use well latrines which are often located close to the wells. This causes contamination of the wells as microorganisms move from the well latrines to the wells through the groundwater. The poor accessibility of water leads to people using contaminated water sources.


Before, it was shown that the access to safe drinking water is still a major issue in Kenya. Improving accessibility by drilling more wells is therefore of great importance. In order to find locations for new water sources we analyzed the soil by its potential to find groundwater.


Groundwater provides nearly 50% of the water in Kilifi County through more than 200 shallow and deep wells with depths ranging from 6 m along the coast to over 300 m in the west.


In the region of Bomani, we come across the magarini sands and the reef complex. Because aquifers in this region are confined and can be found at shallow dept there is a relatively high groundwater potential, providing opportunities for tapping into new water sources.


Rainfall is bimodal, short rains occurring in October to December while long rains in March to June. Rainfall intensity varies from 400mm in the hinterland to 1300mm in the high potential areas in the coastal plains. Most of the divisions are located in the hinterland and experience less rainfall hence Kilifi County falls under the coastal dry areas. It has high temperature ranging from 21 to 35 degres. The rain season division has an important impact on the local’s activity. Shortage or lack of adequate precipitation affects pasture,availability of food due to crop failure, reduced quantity of drinking water and leads to conflict between humans.


Kilifi floods are becoming more common and they have occurred in the river basins even with normal rains because of excess surface water runoff caused by deforestation, poor cultivation methods and land degradation in the more upstream regions. In Kilifi County, the community is highly affected by floods in the season months between March and May , receiving the worst flood infestation and the least floods mostly experienced in October-November-December.


For the past two decades, the Kenyan coast has experienced a constant increase in sea level. This rise will cause an increase in the tidal forcing that in turn causes the salt wedge in many estuaries to penetrate even further upstream. Rivers that are not currently experiencing salinity will be saline in the near future.


Saline intrusion of ground water can affect the drinking water supplies. This means an increased shortage of available water per capita in the region. Bomani is close the coast and therefore to areas that will be in the future affected by sea level rise. This effect is likely to result in a decrease in water availability in the region.


As we saw earlier water contamination is Kenya’s biggest health risk and is associated with several diseases like diarrhoea and hepatitis A and cholera. And it is the type of water source a household relies on that is of great importance in preventing these water related health issues. Research analysis revealed that the use of surface water increased the risk diseases. Vendors, kiosks, piped, direct and indirect, sources appeared to be relatively safe. Moreover, the source of the surface water is important, with households relying upon seeps, springs, reservoirs and ponds having much higher rates of incidence than those relying upon streams or rivers.


the accessibility to water is heavily reliant on the connection of households to the piped water network. In areas with poorly developed infrastructure the percentage of people without access to safe water sources is bigger. In Kilifi County about 77% of the rural population have no laid down pipe connection nor modern ways of sanitation. When there is a lack of tapped water, the locals use the locally dug underground water sources like wells which exposes them to the risk of contamination, especially during the rainy seasons.


In this map we see which areas of the county have greatest access to water. Besides it becomes visible how the infrastructure of water pipelines is related to the water intake per person. The coastal areas, including Bomani, have good access to piped water.


Often men own a well. There are different ways to pay: at a reduced rate, paying in installments, paying in kind, paying with borrowed money. All these different ways of paying are based on the relationship with the owner of the well. One agrees to help maintain the well by digging, for example, or one exchanges food for water. Those who want 10 jerrycans of water take 10 buckets of soil. Often the purchasing power of community members is low due to low income levels, so borrowing or paying on an installment basis is a common way to access water.


Social capital is the most important resource for poor communities that face low incomes, poor education, and few physical and financial assets. It enables greater cooperation within a community and creates an informal safety net. In poor conditions, without consistent availability of water, people must rely on social capital to ensure access to water. Social ties within the water supply are highly varied due to e.g. kinship ties. If a shallow well is owned by a brother, only his family and their parents are entitled to free access to water. If a shallow well or earthen dam is owned by the head of the family, his entire family has the right to use it, but the other family members, such as the in-laws, must purchase water, as must all other members of the community.


183 households of Bodoi A, Bomani Centre, Bomani Kireme, Bomani Palepale, Bomani Timboni, Chidongo, Juju Centre, Junju Shule, Kolewa, Mirimanne and Mwembe Tsungu were interviewed for a survey/analysis for the North Coast Medical Training Center in June 2019. The North Coast MTC was established in 2012 in Bomani, Kikambala Division, Kilifi County. It is located 26 km north from Mombassa centre. The college offers various courses including clinical medicine and surgery, nutrition and dietetics, and nursing. They provide education to 800 students from 17 to 35 years old.


67.9% of people in the villages pay for water. We can assume that 32.1% of those surveyed do not have to pay for water because they are related to the owner of the water source. 94.3% of the residents have sanitation facilities in the household.


People use the public tap the most, then the well/borehole within the compound, then the piped water within the compound, then the public water sources follow. From the data, we can conclude that most residents have good access to tap water and the area is well developed. People prefer to use a water source within the compound and if these are not available then they go to a public water source.


The average monthly salary in Kilifi County is $307 converted to 34997.88 Ksh. An average household of 5 members spends 3% of their income on water.


Kilifi has an arid and semi-arid climate and the rainfall is bi-modal. Due to this the region encounters drought, floods and shortage of available water. Even if Bomani has at the moment a low risk of draught and flood, this might change in the future due to climate change. In Bomani, people rely primarily on groundwater sources. The region has a high potential for the discovery of new underground water sources because of the suitable soil layer for digging boreholes. However, the groundwater is becoming less and less safe due to sea level rise causing groundwater to be vulnerable to saline contamination. Therefore, the amount of water available per capita is getting worse. From the interviews, we observed that even if all the medical student confirmed that they have enough water per day, the amount they stated is short compared to the basic water requirement value.


Solution can be taken to improve the number of water sources also to prevent the saline deterioration of the groundwater as well as providing better design solutions and spatial placement of the wells to prevent contamination. Furthermore, the culture of rain water storage can be implemented to increase the gray water management and decrease the potential of clean water from being used in activities that do not necessarily need potable water for being conducted. Last but not least, as fetcing water is often a collective activity, public water sources can be better designed as public spaces.

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