Follow the water: diving into the politics of water losses in Nairobi, Kenya
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Access to water is a global challenge with 2,2 billion people lacking this service. In Nairobi, 64% of the residents have piped access to water, with major differences between the higher-income areas and the lower-income areas. It is assumed that in the latter area, around 80% of the residents get their water from other sources such as boreholes, legal and illegal water vendors and rivers. In contrast, 40% of the water is assumed to be lost by the water utility company as it is not being paid for to the utility company. However, to a large extent, this water flows from the governmental water distribution system into the informal water distribution system. As a crisis in water is often a crisis in water governance, this research took a the perspective of the politics of water governance to explore the flow of water from the governmental water distribution system to the informal water system. Through a policy document analysis and interviews with various experts in the water sector in Nairobi, the following research question was answered; How does current water governance create water losses and how does this influence the access to water in the informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya? This research has shown that the access to water in the informal settlements is both dependent on the governmental water distribution system and the informal distribution system. The water that flows from the governmental system into the informal system influences the affordability and availability of the water in the informal settlements. This research has contributed to debates on the access to water in the informal settlements, understanding the intertwining of the informal and formal water system and has shown that informality comes from necessity and commercial opportunities.