Urban water stress and poor sanitation in Ghana: perception and experiences of residents in the Ashaiman Municipality


Access to safe and adequate water and to sanitation has been a global developmental priority due to their intrinsic impacts on the achievement of the sustainable development goals. Despite the implementation of several measures to improve access to safe water and sanitation, urban dwellers in Ghana struggle to acquire water and access sanitation facilities. This paper identified and examined the vulnerable conditions of households to environmental inadequacies of potable water and sanitation and measures aimed at reducing the risks associated with them in the Ashaiman Municipality. The study revealed that, access to adequate water supply was not necessarily dependent on the physical location of house units, but on factors such as lack of building permit, financial constraints, rental conditions, administrative procedures and ill-suited housing arrangement. Inadequate solid and liquid waste management practices and poor drainage systems were major problems identified in the Municipality. The paper argues that water, drainage systems and logistics for waste management in deprived communities must be provided by the local government and service providers through public–private partnership agreements. We conclude that, planning rules, regulations and procedures should be strictly adhered to and vigorously enforced by the Municipality in order to have a well-organized and planned urban environment.

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Fig. 1

Source RS/GIS LAB, UG-Legon, 2017

Fig. 2

Source Field work, 2014

Fig. 3

Source Field work, 2014


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We confirm that, this project was not funded by any funding agency. The consent of all interviewees were sought for the studies.

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Correspondence to Austin Dziwornu Ablo.

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Ablo, A.D., Yekple, E.E. Urban water stress and poor sanitation in Ghana: perception and experiences of residents in the Ashaiman Municipality. GeoJournal 83, 583–594 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-017-9787-6

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  • Urban water stress
  • Poor sanitation
  • Environmental risk
  • Ashaiman
  • Ghana