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[WaterAid] Regulating the supply

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작성자 해원협 작성일08-04-01 11:43 조회1,083회 댓글0건

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Regulating the supply










A water vendor selling jerry cans of water from their home supply in Uganda
A water vendor selling jerry cans of water from their home supply in Uganda.
Credit: WaterAid / Caroline Irby

In many urban areas in Africa small-scale informal private vendors, who are sometimes called 'human pipes', fill the supply gap left by water utilities and perform a critical social function in providing water.


But the water that they sell is often overpriced and can be dangerous to drink as it is often collected from polluted, unsafe sources.


In an effort to give the urban poor a fair deal in accessing this essential human right WaterAid is collaborating with its partners to establish ways of regulating the sector.


Water utilities in developing countries are often unable to meet the water needs of the country's residents. In Ghana, for example, 60% of poor people in urban areas buy their water from private vendors as the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) is unable to meet the demand.


Yet, despite the fact that the vendors offer a more reliable supply than areas served by GWCL they are almost completely unregulated and struggle for official recognition as their activities are deemed illegal.


However, the service they provide comes at a price. The unserved urban poor are buying water at extortionate prices from tankers, carts and vendors, spending far more per litre than those connected to the mains supply.










Deus Sanga, a water vendor, transports water for long distances to sell on for a profit
Deus Sanga, a water vendor, transports water for long distances to sell on for a profit.
Credit: WaterAid / Marco Betti

The situation is similar across many African cities. Deus Sanga works as a water vendor in the peri-urban district of Dar es Salaam. He collects water from a water point and then takes it on a trolley to other areas where he sells it on for a profit. 


"I am going to sell this water to the people who live very far from here," he explains. "I buy it for 20 Shillings per jerry can. I sell the water for 200 Shillings per jerry can, but sometimes if there is a long queue or there is no power for the pump the price can go up to 250 Shillings. The customers know I bring the water very far for them and I use my time and energy doing it, so nobody has a problem paying this. I sell around 30 jerry cans of water per day." 


Regulating this section of the water market would make it easier for prices to be set at reasonable rates and ensure that the vendors provide safe water.


Working with Water Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) of University of Loughborough and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) WaterAid is now undertaking research in five countries in Africa including Ghana to explore how the sector can provide an acceptable service to poor.