Drinking Water in Transition: A Multilevel Cross-sectional Analysis of Sachet Water Consumption in Accra

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Abstract

Rapid population growth in developing cities often outpaces improvements to drinking water supplies, and sub-Saharan Africa as a region has the highest percentage of urban population without piped water access, a figure that continues to grow. Accra, Ghana, implements a rationing system to distribute limited piped water resources within the city, and privately-vended sachet water-sealed single-use plastic sleeves-has filled an important gap in urban drinking water security. This study utilizes household survey data from 2,814 Ghanaian women to analyze the sociodemographic characteristics of those who resort to sachet water as their primary drinking water source. In multilevel analysis, sachet use is statistically significantly associated with lower overall self-reported health, younger age, and living in a lower-class enumeration area. Sachet use is marginally associated with more days of neighborhood water rationing, and significantly associated with the proportion of vegetated land cover. Cross-level interactions between rationing and proxies for poverty are not associated with sachet consumption after adjusting for individual-level sociodemographic, socioeconomic, health, and environmental factors. These findings are generally consistent with two other recent analyses of sachet water in Accra and may indicate a recent transition of sachet consumption from higher to lower socioeconomic classes. Overall, the allure of sachet water displays substantial heterogeneity in Accra and will be an important consideration in planning for future drinking water demand throughout West Africa. © 2013 Stoler et al.

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Stoler, J., Weeks, J. R., & Appiah Otoo, R. (2013). Drinking Water in Transition: A Multilevel Cross-sectional Analysis of Sachet Water Consumption in Accra. PLoS ONE, 8(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0067257

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