Socioeconomic differentials and availability of domestic water in South Africa

Type Journal Article - Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C
Title Socioeconomic differentials and availability of domestic water in South Africa
Volume 32
Issue 15 -18
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 1141-1147
The past few decades has seen massive efforts to increasing provision of domestic water. However, water is still unavailable to many people most of them located in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and East Asia. Furthermore, availability of water varies greatly both spatially and temporary. While other people pay so dearly for domestic water others have an easy access to adequate clean water and sanitation. Accessibility and affordability of domestic water and sanitation is determined by a great variety of factors including socioeconomic status of households. The main objective of the paper is to inform on factors which need to be taken into account when coming up with projects to provide domestic water. It is more critical when the issue of water pricing comes into the equation. Water pricing has many facets, including equity, willingness to pay and affordability. In this premise, it is deemed important to understand the socioeconomic characteristics of the people before deciding on the amount of money they will have to pay for water consumption. It is argued that understanding people’s socioeconomic situation will greatly help to ensure that principles of sustainability and equity in water allocation and pricing are achieved. To do so, the paper utilized 2002 South Africa General Household Survey (GHS), to analyze socioeconomic variables and availability of domestic water. Analysis was mainly descriptive. However, logistic regression analysis was also utilized to determine the likelihood of living in a household that obtain water from a safe source. The study found that there is a strong relationship between availability of domestic water and socioeconomic conditions. Economic status, household size and to a lesser extent gender of head of household were found to be strong predictors of living in a household which obtained water from a safe source. The paper recommends that needs and priorities for interventions in water provision should take into account socioeconomic status of households.

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