Monika Ilic | GEOS1001
The ways that the urban poor in developing countries access water for their day-to-day lives.
The urban poor are extremely vulnerable to extreme weather events such as flooding and drought,
which are exacerbated by the effects of climate change because they are often overlooked by the
government and local authorities and struggle to adapt to these changes without sufficient
assistance and knowledge of these processes. This has severely impacted on the way the urban
poor in developing countries, particularly Sub-Saharan African and Southern Asian countries,
access water for their day-to-day lives. Their struggles and their increased vulnerability to climate
change events such as droughts and floods, that have potentially devastating impacts on their
access to water, strongly reinforce socio-economic marginalization and vulnerability. They also
demonstrate a need to develop more effective strategies and measures to assist in better access to
water, with the continued assistance and support of the government and local authorities which
many urban poor feel they are lacking.
The issue of inadequate water supply from the municipal water system in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region of the world whose population has the least access to improved
water supply.1 This makes it one of the most vulnerable areas and the most dependent on private
water supply projects such as water kiosks when they do not have access to the municipal water
system. In the case of Iganga, an urban site in south central Uganda with a very high population
density, it was found that only 13% of households received piped water for a few hours a day, a
startling comparison to 1967 when all sample households received adequate supplies of water 24
hours a day2, according to the results of a study by Thompson. These results demonstrate the
devastation that rapid population growth in urban centres can cause to water supply for the urban
poor, especially when they receive inadequate support and assistance by government and local
authorities to cater for the growing population and exercise their responsibility to provide a safe
and continuous water supply system. In order to improve access to drinking water, the Iganga town
council built water kiosks to supplement private sources in 1998, a significant and positive
development "about which inhabitants expressed optimism for the future".3 Other examples of private sources in Sub-Saharan African countries include obtaining water using boreholes as well
as by shallow wells. Whilst the use of water from wells is primarily for non-consumptive use,
many of the urban poor are forced to resort to drinking its unsanitary water when they cannot
afford drinking water supplied by the kiosks or are unable to travel to water kiosks to collect water.
The use of water kiosks by the urban poor and their overall effectiveness
Water kiosks are facilities that utilise a country's municipal water supply and enable the...