EVALUATION OF GROUNDWATER ACCESSIBILITY IN KILIFI NORTH SUB-COUNTY, KILIFI COUNTY, KENYA
Obeka, Bonventure Mwanzi
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Access to water remains a global challenge, especially with the unprecedented growth in world population. However, underground water resource remains largely underutilized, despite its accounting for a greater volume of global waters. This study presents an evaluation of access to ground water through the socio-cultural and governance factors that influence accessibility to groundwater in Kilifi North. This is on the backdrop that the coastal region, Kilifi North sub County included faces a persistent water shortages. As such, the study aimed at determining the rate of access to groundwater in Kilifi North with a view of establishing the socio-cultural and governance factors that determine access to groundwater in the region. It was in further interest of the study to identify mechanisms that would be adopted to boost access to groundwater. To achieve the objectives of the study, a cross- sectional survey research design was used. A total sample size of 210 households was systematically selected from seven wards in the sub-county. Furthermore, convenient sampling procedure was equally employed using simple random sampling technique to identify the households to be interviewed. Data was collected using mixed questionnaire surveys. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (Version 20.0) was used to enter and analyze coded data. The findings of the study are presented at different levels of analysis using frequencies, Chi square and multiple regressions. It was found out that access to groundwater in the area had improved to 48.1%. It was established that groundwater governance (transparency in responsibility allocation in water management, accountability in the use of groundwater, and community participation in formulation of groundwater policies) had a great bearing in establishing access to groundwater. Additionally, educational and income levels, marital status, age and gender were found to significantly affect access to ground water. It is thus recommended from the findings of the study that public participation in design and implementation of groundwater policies should be encouraged. It was further noted that there is an urgent need to create awareness to vi the community on the value offered by groundwater while at the same time make deliberate attempts to economically empower the community economically so as to collectively meet the exploitation costs of accessing groundwater. Additionally, a proper legal framework in relation to groundwater management ought to be developed in a transparent and accountable manner through inclusivity model of community development, facilitated by good communication on decisions and course of action. This is conceived as the best basis for regulating, while at the same time improving access to groundwater resources as detailed in the findings of this study.