Inderscience Publishers

The political ecology of water commercialisation in Kenya

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Water is an essential commodity for human life. It is also a political and environmental good. The latter attribute makes it a suitable candidate for analysis in the context of political ecology. This is what this paper does for Kenya's transitory period of water reforms. This paper considers conceptual issues concerning political ecology before proceeding to the empirical analysis. At the empirical stage, it discusses the actors, their interests and actions in the reform process. In this case, the state emerges as a predominant actor whose interest is only to consolidate its ownership and control of water resources and infrastructure to the detriment of other actors and legitimate reform objectives such as service improvement, efficiency, sustainability, conservation and inclusiveness.

Keywords: Kenya, water commercialisation, political ecology, water reforms, ownership, water resources, water infrastructure, state interests

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