Essence of Water Governance for SMEs for Sustainable Consumption in Nairobi, Kenya

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Bessy Eva Kathambi
John Nzioka Muthama
Cohen Ang'u


Small and Medium Enterprises, Sustainable consumption, Water governance, Nairobi


Water governance is mostly faced with multifaceted uncertainties owing to rapid demographic changes, urbanization and climate change. Building on recent studies on water governance in urban areas, this study aims to shed light on the importance of water governance for sustainable consumption and posterity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nairobi County. The paper discusses current trends in water governance and proposes policy solutions based on the existing OECD framework. It also highlights the critical role water governance plays in enhancing business bottom lines through institutional arrangements and policy implementation. Inadequacies in water supply and water infrastructure are significant challenges affecting sustainable water utilization for SMEs in Nairobi. Despite concerted efforts for reforms in water governance provided by the Water Act 2016, there still exist multi-level governance gaps in this sector. Weak regulatory arrangements, over-institutionalization, overlapping roles, and lack of coordinated approaches are some of the challenges that need to be addressed.  Unseen players in the water sector in Nairobi also exist to determine the outcomes of the market forces that affect SMEs in this sector. Addressing some of the challenges facing this sector can be achieved by adopting the OECD Principles on Water Governance.  These principles may promote and design tangible and outcome-oriented public policies through the facets of effectiveness, efficiency, trust and engagement; and enable better design and implementation of water governance in Nairobi that will enhance sustainable water consumption among the SMEs.