Independent water pricing of small town water systems in Ghana

Elsevier, Heliyon, Volume 6, June 2020
Fielmua N., Dongzagla A.

This paper explored water pricing of small town water systems in Ghana and how households adapt to changes in pricing. Data were collected from four small towns in the Upper West Region through household survey, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The results of the study showed that small town water systems are semi-autonomous in determining water tariffs. As a result, water tariffs vary among systems although the processes involved in setting tariffs were the same. Tariffs for domestic water use were generally low compared to commercial use. Despite high poverty levels in small towns compared to urban centres, water tariffs in the former were lower than in the latter. It also emerged that most households did not have knowledge on how tariffs were computed. Households without on-premises connections spend 166% higher on water than households with on-premises connections. The empirical analysis shows that unregulated water vending makes households without connection to pay higher tariffs for water. The paper among others recommends that tariffs at which vendors should sell water to customers should be set and closely monitored in order to ensure that households without connections have access to water at reasonable tariffs.