Multiple Waterscapes in Urban Ghana (MUWUG)

Project summary

Researching everyday access to drinking water in urban Ghana under conditions of climate change.

MUWUG (Multiple Waterscapes in Urban Ghana) is an international research collaboration between Copenhagen University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, the Danish Institute for International Studies and the Geneva Water Hub. It investigates how poorer residents in different parts of Ghana’s second city, Kumasi, access clean drinking water under conditions of climate change. Rainfall variability in the city combines with rapid urbanisation and inadequate water utilities and this affects drinking water availability and quality for urban populations.

What do poorer people do to get clean water, and does this depend on which part of the city they live in? We focus on three sites across Kumasi a downtown area where many residents are Muslim, an industrial area where poorer people compete with water intensive industries and a site on the edge of the city where long term residents compete with middle class migrants. In each of these sites there are a mix of ways water is provided – piped water (managed by the Ghana Water Company Limited), community standpipes, street vendors, pop-up water “ATMs”, private boreholes – and a mix of institutions managing access – municipal water boards, resident’s associations, private providers.

In order to study this complex landscape we bring together researchers from the natural sciences and social sciences. Our methods include long term fieldwork, work in the archives, a survey of residents and a technical mapping of water quality. MUWUG is led by an interdisciplinary team of scholars with expertise in African studies, history, water studies, economics and anthropology. It is designed to deliver new knowledge to policy makers and key stakeholders in Ghana and will help inform Danish development cooperation.

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