UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Water Access in Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa : 2012 Survey Data Report Harris, Leila; Rodina, Lucy; Luker, Emma; Darkwah, Akosua K.; Goldin, Jaqueline


Across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) urban water supply systems face a range of challenges—so much so that the situation across the region has been classified by the United Nations as being among the most dire globally with respect to provision of water and sanitation (UN-HABITAT 2007). Among the tremendous challenges is the issue of uneven and variable delivery of services, often with some middle and high-income locales receiving safe and affordable water, while nearby lower income areas do not even enjoy basic access to safe water for drinking and other domestic uses. This report provides data from a survey implemented early in 2012 with focus on basic household water uses and sources, perceptions of accessibility and affordability, and other elements of the lived experience associated with water access and governance in four relatively underserved sites of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa. Please note that we targeted underserved sites for the survey, so the data speaks to the conditions in these sites, rather than for the cities overall. Specifically, the survey was undertaken in the communities of Teshie and Ashaiman in Accra, and Philippi and Khayletisha in Cape Town (see Maps 1 and 2). In Ghana there were a total of 243 respondents, with 123 respondents from Ashaiman (Roman Down) and 120 from Teshie (51% of the Ghanaian sample were female, and 49% male). For the South African sites, there were a total of 256 respondents—132 from Khayelitsha and 124 from Philippi (of the South African survey respondents, 61% were female and 39% male). There are considerable socio-cultural, political-economic and other differences across these study sites. The survey results presented here help to capture and elaborate some of these differences. The data, both in aggregate senses, and for each specific country, also serves to capture how relatively impoverished and underserved communities in both urban contexts access and assess water as part of their everyday lives. Indeed, we find the differences across the sites to be instructive in several ways, including highlighting key concerns that face relatively impoverished communities in either context, and also as background information to evaluate and understand the importance and effects of different policy and historical contexts that help to shape the realities as reported by respondents. For instance, one observation is that affordability is a key concern in Ghana, yet respondents in this country do not believe that water should be free, revealing a stark difference from their South African counterparts. Our survey results have also informed several publications, as noted in the bibliography.

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