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Rural water usage in East Africa : does collection effort really impact basic access?

Access to water for domestic use is a serious impediment to the development of East Africa. Throughout the region, it is common for rural residents to travel distances more than two kilometers every day in search of water sources. Such a burden has led many to the conclusion that per capita water usage must be correlated to water accessibility – those who have poor access will not use as much water. This paper aims to investigate this through a study of water usage in rural East Africa. The study queried participants in three districts of Uganda and one province of Kenya about their water usage habits. The first survey found that rural Ugandans use an average of 15.4 ± 0.5 liters per person per day regardless of their perceived effort in terms of collection times or distances travelled. Results are supported by two smaller studies in Kenya’s Eastern Province and in Rakai District, Uganda. In all of these studies, there was no decline in water collected with increasing perceived collection effort. These results suggest that for these communities, the quantity of water used may not depend on the perceived collection effort. Instead, users collect water to fulfill their basic needs. [authors abstract]

TitleRural water usage in East Africa : does collection effort really impact basic access?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMellor, JE, Watkins, DW, Mihelcic, JR
Paginationp. 215 - 225; 3 fig.; 3 tab.
Date Published2012-07-01
PublisherPractical Action Publishing
Place PublishedRugby, UK
Keywordsaccess to water, domestic use, kenya, rural areas, rural communities, rural supply systems, uganda
Abstract

Access to water for domestic use is a serious impediment to the development of East Africa. Throughout the region, it is common for rural residents to travel distances more than two kilometers every day in search of water sources. Such a burden has led many to the conclusion that per capita water usage must be correlated to water accessibility – those who have poor access will not use as much water. This paper aims to investigate this through a study of water usage in rural East Africa. The study queried participants in three districts of Uganda and one province of Kenya about their water usage habits. The first survey found that rural Ugandans use an average of 15.4 ± 0.5 liters per person per day regardless of their perceived effort in terms of collection times or distances travelled. Results are supported by two smaller studies in Kenya’s Eastern Province and in Rakai District, Uganda. In all of these studies, there was no decline in water collected with increasing perceived collection effort. These results suggest that for these communities, the quantity of water used may not depend on the perceived collection effort. Instead, users collect water to fulfill their basic needs. [authors abstract]

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The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.