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Household Water Coping Behaviour and Costs in the Volta Basin of Ghana

Yaw Bonsu Osei-Asare

No 9520, 2004 Inaugural Symposium, December 6-8, 2004, Nairobi, Kenya from African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE)

Abstract: Ghana is abundant in water resources but frequently experiences seasonal and periodic water scarcities. Households therefore adopt coping strategies and various activities to ensure continuous flow of adequate safe water at the household level. These strategies involve opportunity costs and some amount of financial outlay. Using revealed preference data for 20 randomly selected rural communities in the Volta basin of Ghana this paper employs the coping costs approach to derive the costs of coping with water insecurity. Explicit costs in the form of investments in water storage facilities and costs of water treatment are estimated. Implicit costs (opportunity cost of time) associated with water collection, which varies by season and ecological zone, is valued using the average basic hourly wage of rural women engaged in agriculture. The results of the study show that costs of coping with water insecurity are higher in the dry season and for forest ecology households. The often-stated claim that rural households cannot and should not pay for the full cost of water delivery is not supported by this study. The paper concludes that rural consumers are paying at least as much as their urban consumers for unimproved water. Hence, this paper is of the view that rural consumers have the ability to pay for improved water but may not be willing to do so probably due to their perceptions and attitudes concerning the public good nature and benefits of improved water supply.

Keywords: Resource /Energy Economics and Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004
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