Socio-economic Determinants of Sources of Drinking Water: Some Insight from Ghana

Type Conference Paper - Conference on International Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development
Title Socio-economic Determinants of Sources of Drinking Water: Some Insight from Ghana
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
City Hamburg
Country/State Germany
Drinking water is the basic need of human life and in fact an essential component of primary
health care and poverty alleviation. A former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan noted that“No
single measure would do more to reduce disease and save lives in the developing world than
bringing safe water... to all” (as cited in Water Matters 2003). The World Bank (1994) indicated
that inadequate drinking water not only resulted in more sicknesses and deaths but also increases
health expenditures, lowers worker productivity and school enrolment.
Some 6,000 people-mainly children under-five die every day from the effects of using
contaminated water (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, 2008). Diarrheal diseases are
caused by poor environmental hygiene of water and food. Water based disease transmission by
drinking contaminated water is responsible for significant out breaks of faeco-oral diseases such
as cholera, typhoid, dysentery and diarrhoea.
The Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation (GWSC), now Ghana Water Company Limited
(GWCL) is responsible for the provision, distribution and supply of water for public domestic
and industrial purposes. In line with the decentralization structures, the Community Water and
Sanitation Agency (CWSA) an offshoot of the then GWSC was set up in 1998 to facilitate the
provision of safe drinking water in rural communities and small towns. In Ghana, approximately
94% of the population has access to water, where access is defined for households with a water
source less than 30 minutes away. However, only 74% of the population has access to improved
water source. Contrastingly, the WHO (2006), put the proportion of the population with improved
water source at 64%, a 10 percentage points lower.

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