This book represents a prodigious undertaking. Over nearly 500 pages Nyanchaga documents the historical development of water administration – mainly water supply – throughout Kenya, going back to 1900, the beginning of the colonial period.

The author has delved deep into Kenya archives, from the Hydraulic Inspection reports of 1951–60 in the Kenya National Archive, to reviews of water supplies in Native areas in Wajir dating from 1935, or a report on Taveta water from the Lumi River in 1914. He has pored over old documents, sometimes hand written or on flimsy carbon copies and more modern reports alike and has produced a fascinating and thorough history of water policy in Kenya over the past 100 years.

The heart of the book – running to over 300 pages – is an extremely detailed and carefully researched description of water supply systems to all the entities in...

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