With the analyses of secondary data, the study finds that there is a consistent increase in safe water coverage in Kenya over the years, mostly through paid common standpipes. However, primary data collected through in-depth field investigations in the Mathare slums of Nairobi reveal that the paid standpipes are overstressed and are prone to unreliable services, neglected operation and maintenance, illegal connections, water theft, unregulated and high tariffs and client favouritism on the basis of tribal affiliations. Thus, the most effective way to serve the urban poor is to increase the number of working standpipes with fixed operating schedules per day, along with strict enforcement of water tariff regulations.

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