Understanding intra‑urban inequality in networked water supply in Wa, Ghana.

Lazarus Jambadu, Alfred Dongzagla*, Ishmael Kabange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Extant studies on urban water access in
African cities have mainly explained inequalities
from the socio-economic and political perspectives.
However, the material dimension of water supply has
received little attention in the literature, though it is
central in urban water supply. This paper examined
how physical infrastructure artifacts and properties
shape water access in Wa, Ghana. To understand the
spatial dynamics, the study applied intra-urban comparative
approaches to systematically analyze and
compare networked water infrastructure across four
different socio-economic neighbourhoods within the
city. Data were collected through document reviews,
in-depth interviews with utility officials and customers
of the water company in Wa. The study reveals important differences across the four neighbourhoods
that were studied, in respect of the extent of physical
network coverage and the technical qualities of principal
mains. The study concludes that both the physical
and technical properties of water supply networks
influence the distribution of piped water supply in
Wa. Our case study emphasizes the agency of material
objects in shaping water access in cities, which
thereby takes the analysis of inequalities in water
access beyond simple socio-economic and political
narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841–857
Number of pages17
JournalGeo Journal
Volume88
Issue number1
Early online date26 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Ghana
  • Inequalities
  • Infrastructure
  • Materiality
  • Urban
  • Water supply

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