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EMMA Report on Water Market

Moyale Town
August, 2012

Moyale town is a border town between Kenya and Ethiopia and has an estimated population of approximately 90,000-120,000 people. A gradual increase in population over the years and the dilapidation of the water infrastructure has increased the pressure for water supply within the town. In January 2012, clan fighting on the Kenyan side prompted 5888 Borana and Gabra households to cross to the Ethiopian side of Moyale, where they were hosted by Borana and Gabra households. This displacement increased the pressure on water and other resources.

Since the onset of the displacements, Oxfam has been working on public health and is also exploring ways to supply water to poorer sections of the community and the displaced population through the existing water market system. The objective of this EMMA was to assess the functionality of the commercial water system in Moyale and investigate various market-based options to increase access to water for vulnerable and displaced households in urban Moyale. The Moyale water market assessment utilized an adapted version of the EMMA methodology. The assessment did not produce before and after market maps; rather, it just examined the current state of the market and how Oxfam could program better within such a market.

In the current water market system, the need is astronomical in relation to supply. The assessment found that households utilize municipal water from both public and private water stands when it is available. Municipal water is not always available, and not all households have access to it. The main capacity issue within the market is the availability of water. Aggregate water supply is not currently adequate to meet demand. Given this scenario, any market-based intervention has to be planned in conjunction with increased water supply at aggregate level. Prices could potentially be affected by a large-scale market intervention that increases water entitlements significantly from current levels, thereby increasing demand when supply is static. The number and nature of players in the system would be adequate to serve the population were adequate water supply available.

The main conclusion is that the current commercial water market in Moyale can be utilized to deliver humanitarian water assistance, but the scale and coverage of the intervention has to be adapted to the context of limited supply. This report recommends the implementation of flexible market-integrated relief that permits households to access water via their choice of the following mechanisms: water vouchers for public and private water stands, water vouchers for donkey carts, segregated access vouchers and monthly cash distributions.

Report authors: 
Blessing Mutsaka, Oda Ginbe, Gezahegn Shewangizaw
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