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Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development Vol 2 No 4 pp 223–240 © IWA Publishing 2012 doi:10.2166/washdev.2012.104

Sachet drinking water in Ghana's Accra-Tema metropolitan area: past, present, and future

Justin Stoler, John R. Weeks and Günther Fink

Department of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Miami,1000 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA E-mail: stoler@miami.edu
Department of Geography, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA


Population growth in West Africa has outpaced local efforts to expand potable water services, and private sector sale of packaged drinking water has filled an important gap in household water security. Consumption of drinking water packaged in plastic sachets has soared in West Africa over the last decade, but the long-term implications of these changing consumption patterns remain unclear and unstudied. This paper reviews recent shifts in drinking water, drawing upon data from the 2003 and 2008 Demographic and Health Surveys, and provides an overview of the history, economics, quality, and regulation of sachet water in Ghana's Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area. Given the pros and cons of sachet water, we suggest that a more holistic understanding of the drinking water landscape is necessary for municipal planning and sustainable drinking water provision.

Keywords: Africa; drinking water; Ghana; infrastructure; poverty; sachets

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