Citizen participation dilemmas in water governance: An empirical case of Kumasi, Ghana

Michael Odei Erdiaw-Kwasie, Matthew Abunyewah, Joseph Edusei, Emmanuel Buernor Alimo

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Citizen participation in decision-making on water-related initiatives offers a valuable pathway to move towards a more equitable and sustainable water delivery, now and into the future. However, given the acknowledged impacts of active citizen participation in the water governance process, there is an increase institutional search for ideal approaches to enhance local inputs in water decisions. To enhance institutional knowledge on this quest, this paper adopts a qualitative exploratory method using 48 interviews and 2 focus group discussions (6 participants in each group) to present an empirical case of Kumasi in Ghana. Findings from the study show that citizens are willing to participate in decision-making on water-related process through radio programs; public meetings; surveys or polls and telephone. It was also realised that Ghana Water Company focuses more on the technical aspect of water delivery than the social aspect which borders on appropriate engagement strategies that involve customers in the decision-making process. The results imply a significant difference regarding feasibility and outcomes for each currently deployed participatory mechanism. The study recommends a change in current institutional and governance arrangements to influence citizen participation strategies at all levels of water service delivery and governance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100242
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Development Perspectives
Early online date15 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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