URBANIZATION, WATER AND ECOSYSTEMS: THE CASE OF NAIROBI
David N. Mungai and Samuel O. Owuor4
Founded as a railway station in 1899, Nairobi is the largest city in Kenya covering an area of 696 km2
Domestic Product (Ndorongo undated, Mungai and others 2011). SUDAN
ETHIOPIA Lokichokio Turkana
Lokichar UGANDA Kitale Kakamega Kisumu Homa Bay Narok Nairobi Kibwezi TANZANIA Malindi Mombasa
4. The authors would like to thank Philip Gichuki, Mbutu Mwaura, Msafiri Wambua and Paul Kinyua for providing the information used in preparing this case study and for providing useful comments on the first draft of the text.
23 Garsen Lamu Nakuru Nyeri Embu Garissa Lokori Baragoi
North Horr Loiyangalani Marsabit Wajir Habas Liboi SOMALIA Takaba El Wak Lake
As Kenya rapidly urbanises, Nairobi’s share of the country’s urban population increased from 5.2 per cent in 1948 to 32.4 per cent in 2009 (GOK 1966, 1971, 1981, 1994, 2002, 2010). The annual urban growth rate for Kenya increased to a high of 7.7 per cent in 1979 but fell to 3.4 per cent in 1999 (GOK 1999). Nairobi continues to have the largest share of the urban population in the country. The city’s population increased from 119 000 in 1948 to 3.1 million people in 2009 (GOK 1966, 1971, 1981, 1994, 2002, 2010). Despite its large population, Nairobi recently witnessed a decline in its growth rate. This indicates the emergence and importance of small and medium- size urban centres in the country.
It is estimated that half of Kenya’s population will be living in urban areas by 2015. Urban growth, combined with urban sprawl, has overwhelmed the capacity of local authorities to provide the increasing urban population with adequate facilities and services, including water and sanitation.
(UN-HABITAT 2010). The city accounts for 60 per cent of Kenya’s Gross