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Research project

Enhancing Understanding of Domestic Groundwater Quality and Contamination Hazards in Greater Accra

Project overview

In this project, we examined contamination hazards affecting two different systems that use groundwater as a domestic water source in urban Greater Accra, Ghana. The first system that we studied was shallow hand-dug wells, often used as a supplementary water source in low income areas. Two students studying for their Masters in Public Health (MPH) at University of Ghana independently surveyed a sample of these wells, recording contamination hazards around wells such as presence of pit latrines close by. When the students' observations were compared, they showed good agreement. The second system that we studied was the packaging of 'sachet water' (water sold in 500ml plastic bags) from boreholes. We mapped the addresses of sachet producers registered with regulators, finding clusters of sachet production on the edge of Accra. We also traced manufacturer addresses from retail outlets where sachets were sold, back to the place of manufacture. We found most manufacturers were registered with the regulators, and on the whole, production conditions were hygienic. We found sachet water to be largely free from bacterial contamination.


Lead researcher

Professor Jim Wright

Professor in GIS & Int Development

Research interests

  • Safe water access and public health in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Environmental applications of GIS
  • Geospatial analysis for public health, particularly via routine health management information systems
Connect with Jim

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs