Analysis of domestic water use for commercial activities among the poor in Alajo and Sabon Zongo communities of Accra, Ghana
In cities throughout Africa, domestic water is widely used for small businesses. The amount of water used depends on the size of the business and the individuals involved in these businesses are mostly women. However, many of these businesses do not have a direct connection to the city’s water network and the business owners often travel a far distance to purchase water at high prices. To explore this problem, the research titled “Analysis of Domestic Water Use for Livelihood Activities among the Poor in Alajo and Sabon Zongo Communities of Accra, Ghana” was undertaken. The main objectives of the study were two-fold: to measure the extent of domestic water use for livelihood purposes by both men and women in sub-urban communities of Accra and its contribution to their livelihoods, and enhance access of poor women to water to improve their water-dependent livelihoods and thus reduce poverty in Accra. The study also addressed issues relating to health and sanitation and explained that poor water quality in this community is as a result of damaged pipes and dirty storage tanks. The study was carried out using qualitative approach of investigation: interviewing, focus group discussions (FGDs), and direct observation. Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze data collected. The study found that income generated from water related businesses contribute either all or more than half of the household income of water-related business operators. Water prices in these communities are ten times the regulated prices charged by the water utility, which have great impact on the profit margins of these small businesses and are often the stronghold of women. The highest level of education attained by most of the water related business owners is Junior Secondary School (Grade 8), which gives a basis for the explanation of their low income and high poverty levels. The study posed some recommendations including the possibility of government’s provision of water to every household in the communities. Furthermore, the implication of this recommendation was discussed, as it eliminates the business of water sellers and obstructs the income generated to support their households. Other livelihood activities that can be carried out by these water-related business owners were stated to include internet café business, grocery store operation, and boutique store operation. Certain limitations of this study have also been identified as its scope was limited to some extent. Areas of further research have also been identified.
Water use, Commercial activities, Water-related Livelihood Activities