Water sector reforms are often triggered by a significant change in water law and policy, as occurred when Kenya adopted a new water policy in 1999, and a new water law in 2002. The current phase of water sector reforms in Kenya have been triggered by the promulgation of a new Constitution in August 2010. These constitutional changes resulted in a devolved system of government, with a distinction of mandates between the national government, and forty-seven (47) county governments. For instance, the national government is responsible for policy making, setting national standards for the water sector, establishing a durable and sustainable system of development including water protection. Counties are responsible for implementing national law and policy on water conservation, and for provision of water and sanitation services.
The 2010 Constitution also introduced the human right to water, and to reasonable standards of sanitation. This is an important change that requires the water sector to make changes in the manner of realizing, protecting and fulfilling these two human rights. The exact manner of delivering on these two rights has to be clearly framed to ensure progressive fulfilment towards universal coverage.
These constitutional changes have resulted in adopted of the Water Act, No. 43 of 2016 which provides the institutional mechanisms, and the legal instruments to implement the Constitution. A new National Water Policy is under development to guide in the implementation of the Constitution and Water Act.