Sustainable Water Resources Management

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 2023–2036 | Cite as

The roles and attitudes of urbanites towards urban water insecurity. Case of the New Juaben Municipality, Ghana

  • Michael Osei AsibeyEmail author
  • Benjamin Dosu
  • Vivian Yeboah
Original Article


The attitudes and roles of residents toward water stress are expected to be cost-effective means of improving efficiency and sustainability in water supply in urban communities. This paper seeks to examine the effectiveness of coping strategies and perceived roles of urban dwellers in addressing water stress in the New Juaben Municipality, Ghana, and to identify best practices for replication. Data were obtained from 380 household heads in ten urban communities and relevant institutions through direct interviews, observations and focus group discussions. The study showed a 59% deficit in water supply due to rapid urbanisation and increased demand, resulting in shortages and rationing. Households spent 12 min above the recommended 30 min by the World Health Organisation to access potable water including queuing and in required quantities. The dominant coping strategy, among six identified, was reducing water intake. Other emerging and fast growing strategies were the use of sachet water (0.5 L/sachet) and activities of private water tanker drivers, who supply water at costs relatively higher than that provided by formal suppliers. Households were not involved in management processes and remained uninformed about causes of frequent shortages. Nonetheless, households generally showed positive attitudes (willingness to pay additional charges, reporting leakages, and promoting safe use of facilities) toward addressing water shortages with significant variations among gender, age and economic status. The study concludes that sustainable provision will occur when attempts are made to understand, appreciate and integrate the roles, socio-cultural and economic conditions of urbanites to ensure all-inclusive efforts towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.


Coping strategy Urbanisation Urban water planning Water security Water supply system Water stress 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Adarkwa KK (2012) The changing face of Ghanaian towns. Afr Rev Econ Finance 4(1):1–29Google Scholar
  2. Amoako C, Adom-Asamoah G (2018) From the seat of a traditional Kingdom to a Garden city: the socio-spatial politics of managing green areas in Kumasi, Ghana. Afr Geogr Rev 1:1. Google Scholar
  3. Amu NJ (2008) The role of women in Ghana’s economy. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Ghana. O´mens Graphix. Accessed on 24 Feb 2018
  4. Babbie ER (2010) The practice of social research, 12th edn. Wasworth Cengage, Belmont, CAGoogle Scholar
  5. Braimah I, Amponsah O, Asibey MO (2016) The effectiveness of the local management systems of rural water facilities for sustainable service delivery: a case study of the Sekyere East District, Ghana. Sustain Water Resour Manag 2(4):405–418. Google Scholar
  6. Braimah I, Nti KO, Amponsah O (2017) Poverty penalty in urban water market in Ghana. Urban Forum 29(2):147–168Google Scholar
  7. Cosgrove WJ, Loucks DP (2015) Water management: current and future challenges and research directions. Water Resour Res 51:4823–4839. Google Scholar
  8. Darteh B (2010) Flooding in the city: the blame game. Accra Learning Alliance blog. Accessed on 12 Feb 2018
  9. De Loë RC, Di Giantomasso SE, Kreutzwiser RD (2002) Local capacity for groundwater protection in Ontario. Environ Manag 29(2):217–233Google Scholar
  10. Doe WH (2007) Assessing the challenges of water supply in urban Ghana: The case of North Teshie, Master Thesis, EESI, and StockholmGoogle Scholar
  11. Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) (2012) 2010 Population and housing census. Summary report of final results. GSS Sakoa Press Limited, AccraGoogle Scholar
  12. Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) (2014) 2010 Population and housing census: district analytical report, New Juaben Municipal. Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), AccraGoogle Scholar
  13. Grayman WM, Loucks DP, Saito L (2012) Toward a sustainable water future: visions for 2050. American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, VaGoogle Scholar
  14. Harris D, Kooy M, Jalloh G (2012). The political economy of the urban waterpricing regime in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Working paper 348. LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Howard G, Bartram J (2003) Domestic water quantity, service level and health. World Health Organisation, Geneva. Accessed on 11 March 2018
  16. Ishaku HT, Peters AA, Haruna A, Mazawuje F, Dama FM (2010) The role of private water vending in nigerian peri-urban informal settlements: implication for policy makers. J Water Resour Prot 2:1082–1087Google Scholar
  17. Lynch F, Hollnsteiner MR, Carvar LC (1974) Data gathering by social survey, Trial edn. Social Science Council Inc., The Philippines Quezon CityGoogle Scholar
  18. Manoranjitham S, Jacob SK (2007) Focus group discussion. J Nurs Assoc India 98(6):125–127Google Scholar
  19. Mazango N, Munjeri C (2009) Water management in a hyperinflationary environment: case study of Nkayi district in Zimbabwe. Phys Chem Earth A/B/C 34(1–2):28–35. Google Scholar
  20. McDonald RI, Greenb P, Balkc D, Feketeb BM, Revengaa C, Toddc M, Montgomery M (2011) Urban growth, climate change, and freshwater availability. PNAS 108(15):6312–6317. Google Scholar
  21. Mensah K (1999) Water law, water rights and water supply (Africa)—Ghana study country report. Cranfield University, SilsoeGoogle Scholar
  22. Ministry of Youth and Sports (2010) National youth policy of Ghana: towards an empowered youth, impacting positively on national development. Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ghana, AccraGoogle Scholar
  23. New Juaben Municipal Assembly (2014) District medium-term development plan (2014–2017). Planning Department Office, KoforiduaGoogle Scholar
  24. Nie NH, Bent DH, Hull CH (1970) SPSS: statistical package for the social sciences. Mc-Graw Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Noack A (2018) Social statistics in action: a Canadian introduction. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  26. Nsiah-Gyabaah (2001) The looming national dilemma of water crisis in peri-urban areas in Ghana. DFID Project Funded Project R 7330. DFID, KumasiGoogle Scholar
  27. Nyarko KB, Odai SN, Owusu PA, Quartey EK (2008) Water supply coping strategies in Accra. Paper presented at the WEDC international conference: access to sanitation and safe water: global partnerships and local actions, Accra, Ghana, pp 7–11Google Scholar
  28. Osumanu IK (2013) Community involvement in urban water and sanitation provision: the missing link in partnerships for improved service delivery in Ghana. J Afr Stud Dev 2(8):208–215Google Scholar
  29. Patrick RJ (2011) Uneven access to safe drinking water for First Nations in Canada: connecting health and place through source water protection. Health Place 17(1):386–389Google Scholar
  30. Pearson AL, Mayer JD, Bradley DJ (2015) Coping with household water scarcity in the savannah today: implications for health and climate change into the future. Earth Interact 19(8):1–14. Google Scholar
  31. Sarkar A, Hanrahan M, Hudson A (2015) Water insecurity in Canadian Indigenous communities: some inconvenient truths. Rural Remote Health 15(4):3354–3354Google Scholar
  32. Sorenson SB, Morssink C, Campos PA (2011) Safe access to safe water in low income countries: water fetching in current times. Soc Sci Med 72(9):1522–1526Google Scholar
  33. Stoler J, Fink G, Weeks JR, Otoo RA, Ampofo JA, Hill AG (2012) When urban taps run dry: sachet water consumption and health effects in low income neighborhoods of Accra, Ghana. Health Place 18(2):250–262Google Scholar
  34. Teye J (2018) Urbanization and migration in Africa. In: United Nations expert group meeting for the review and appraisal of the programme of action of the international conference on population and development and its contribution to the follow-up and review of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. United Nations Secretariat, New York, 1–2 Nov 2018. Accessed on 12 July 2019
  35. UNESCO (2015) United Nations world water assessment programme. The United Nations world water development report 2015. Water for a sustainable world. UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar
  36. UNICEF and WHO (2015) 25 Years of progress on sanitation and drinking water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment, pp 5, 13. Accessed on 21 Feb 2018
  37. UNICEF and WHO (2017) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG baselinesGoogle Scholar
  38. United Nations (UN) (2002) Johannesburg declaration on sustainable development. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. United Nations (UN) (2006) Water, a shared responsibility. The United Nations world water development report—2. UNESCO and Berghahn Books, ParisGoogle Scholar
  40. United Nations (UN) (2014) Human right to water and sanitation. International decade for action ‘water for life’ 2005–2015. Accessed 12 June 2018
  41. United Nations (UN) (2015) Water for a sustainable world. The United Nations world water development report 2015. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), FranceGoogle Scholar
  42. United Nations Development Program (UNDP) (2006) Beyond scarcity: power, poverty and the global water crisis: human development report. Accessed on 23 Feb 2018
  43. UN Water (2007) Coping with water scarcity: challenge of the twenty-first century. 2007 world water day, 22nd March 2007. Accessed on 15 March 2018
  44. USAID (2006) Urban water supply and distribution. Accessed on 28 Feb 2018
  45. Vairavamoorthy K (2007) Challenges for urban water supply and Sanitation in the developing countries. DelftGoogle Scholar
  46. World Health Organization (WHO) (2015) Progress on sanitation and drinking water: 2015 update and MDG assessment. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  47. World Health Organization (WHO) (2017) Global health risks-mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. Cancer. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  48. Yin RK (2014) Case study research design and methods, 5th edn. Sage Publication, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Planning, College of Art and Built EnvironmentKwame Nkrumah University of Science and TechnologyKumasiGhana
  2. 2.Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts and ScienceUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  3. 3.Development Planning UnitUniversity College of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations