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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Science of the Total Environment
Title Piped water consumption in Ghana: A case study of temporal and spatial patterns of clean water demand relative to alternative water sources in rural small towns
Volume 559
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 291-301
URL https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Karen_Kosinski/publication/300078824???
Continuous access to adequate quantities of safe water is essential for human health and socioeconomic development.
Piped water systems (PWSs) are an increasingly common type of water supply in rural African small
towns. We assessed temporal and spatial patterns in water consumption from public standpipes of four PWSs
in Ghana in order to assess clean water demand relative to other available water sources. Low water consumption
was evident in all study towns, which manifested temporally and spatially. Temporal variability in water consumption
that is negatively correlated with rainfall is an indicator of rainwater preference when it is available.
Furthermore, our findings show that standpipes in close proximity to alternative water sources such as streams
and hand-dug wells suffer further reductions in water consumption. Qualitative data suggest that consumer demand
in the study towns appears to be driven more by water quantity, accessibility, and perceived aesthetic
water quality, as compared to microbiological water quality or price. In settings with chronic under-utilizationof improved water sources, increasing water demand through household connections, improving water quality
with respect to taste and appropriateness for laundry, and educating residents about health benefits of using
piped water should be prioritized. Continued consumer demand and sufficient revenue generation are important
attributes of a water service that ensure its function over time. Our findings suggest that analyzing water consumption
of existing metered PWSs in combination with qualitative approaches may enable more
efficient planning of community-based water supplies and support sustainable development.

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