Urbanization And Water Resources Vulnerability In The Kumasi Metropolitan Area, Ghana By

Urbanization And Water Resources Vulnerability In The Kumasi Metropolitan Area, Ghana By
Urbanization And Water Resources Vulnerability In The Kumasi Metropolitan
Area, Ghana
Suraj Mohammed
Thesis submitted to the Department of Water and Environmental Studies at
Linköping University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science in Water Resources and Livelihood Security.
Supervisor: Professor Hans Holmen
August 2004
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Urbanization and Water Resources Vulnerability in the Kumasi Metropolitan Area, Ghana
Suraj Mohammed
Most urban areas of developing countries were hitherto experiencing unprecedented growth in their population, the
phenomenon commonly referred to as urbanization, which in this study can be said to be the proportion of urban
population relative to the total population of a region.
This phenomenon has opportunities vis -à-vis challenges, whose impact on natural resources in general and water
resources in particular, cannot be over-emphasized. It is within the context of these urban challenges that this study
attempts to look into and possibly assess the situation in the urban and peri-urban areas of Kumasi Metropolitan Area
(KMA) in Ghana, whose urbanization processes is prejudiced by this study to be increasing rapidly.
The study specifically attempted to assess the changes in the urbanization patterns and the possible future urbanization
trend of the area within a specific time frame. The study also attempts to look at the causes of this urbanization, and it s
impact on water resources in the Area, both qualitatively and quantitatively, envisaged to be the results of socioeconomic activities taking place in the Area. Finally, the study attempts to look into the measures put in place to curb
these challenges.
Amid paucity of data, however, the study reveals that the most single contributor of urbanization processes in the area
has been migration from the countryside, and in particular from the northern part of the country. The study also reveals
the fact that even though the general quality standard of some water resources is better, the largely uncontrolled socioeconomic activities, coupled with the deplorable sanitary conditions in the KMA, has potential to degrade the water
resources in the KMA. In addition, the study reveals that little attention is given, in terms of policy formulation to curb
this urbanization processes and to protect water resources in the area.
Urbanization, Water Resources, Socio-economic activities, Vulnerability, Kumasi Metropolitan Area
Most urban areas of developing countries were hitherto experiencing unprecedented
growth in their population, the phenomenon commonly referred to as urbanization, which
in this study can be said to be the proportion of urban population relative to the total
population of a region.
This phenomenon has opportunities vis-à-vis challenges, whose impact on natural
resources in general and water resources in particular, cannot be over-emphasized. It is
within the context of these urban challenges that this study attempts to look into and
possibly assess the situation in the urban and peri-urban areas of Kumasi Metropolitan
Area (KMA) in Ghana, whose urbanization processes is prejudiced by this study to be
increasing rapidly.
The study specifically attempted to assess the changes in the urbanization patterns and
the possible future urbanization trend of the area within a specific time frame. The study
also attempts to look at the causes of this urbanization, and its impact on water resources
in the Area, both qualitatively and quantitatively, envisaged to be the results of socioeconomic activities taking place in the Area. Finally, the study attempts to look into the
measures put in place to curb these challenges.
Amid paucity of data, however, the study reveals that the most single contributor of
urbanization processes in the area has been migration from the countryside, and in
particular from the northern part of the country. The study also reveals the fact that even
though the general quality standard of some water resources is better, the largely
uncontrolled socio-economic activities, coupled with the deplorable sanitary conditions in
the KMA, has potential to degrade the water resources in the KMA. In addition, the study
reveals that little attention is given, in terms of policy formulation to curb this
urbanization processes and to protect water resources in the area.
I first of all give thanks and glory to God the Lord of the universe, and the sustainer and
Cherisher of mankind for giving me life and strength to carry out this study.
I wish to express my indebtedness to my supervisor Prof. Hans Holmen, for his patience,
valuable suggestions and guidance during the course of this thesis.
My greatest appreciation also goes to Mr. Ian Dickson, for his immeasurable assistance,
by making it easy for me to have access to a lot of facilities at his own expense and thus
made it easy for me to carry out with this study.
My appreciation is also due to all the lecturers and staff at the Department of Water and
Environmental Studies at Linköping University where this study was carried out, for their
effort to impart us with rich and valuable teachings.
My special thanks go to my family, my wife and my son, for their moral support, which
enabled me to go through these entire studies whilst I was away from them.
Last but not least, my thanks go to all my course mates, my friends and my loved ones
who contributed towards the successful completion of this thesis.
And finally, I am asking for Gods blessings and success for all my future endeavours.
Suraj Mohammed.
Linköping, Sweden
August 2004.
Table of contents………………………………………………………………………...iii
List of figures…………………………………………………………………………….iv
List of tables………………………………………………………………………………v
Acronyms and abbreviations …………………………………………………………...vi
1.1 Introduction and background………………………………………………………….1
1.2 Statement of the problem……………………………………………………….……..2
1.3 Aim of the study……………………………………………………………………….3
1.4 Methodology and information sources………………………………………………..3
1.5 Organization of the thesis……………………………………………………………..4
2.1 Defining terms and concepts…………………………………………………………..6
2.1.1 Urban………………………………………………………………………………...6
2.1.2 Concept of urbanization……………………………………………………………..6
2.1.3 Concept of peri- urban……………………………………………………………….8 Structure of peri- urban interface….……………………………………….………8
2.2 Urban and peri-urban agriculture……………………………………………….……..9
2.3 Urbanization trend in Africa…………………………………………………………10
2.4 Dynamics of urbanization in Africa………………………………………………….12
2.4.1 Natural population growth…………………………………………………….…...12
2.4.2 Migration…………………………………………………………………….……..13
2.5 Urbanization and development………………………………………………….…...14
3.1 Environmental consequences of urbanization……………………………………….16
3.2 Urban water resources and sustainable development………………………………..17
3.3 Urbanization and land use……………………………………………………………18
3.4 Urbanization and water demand……………………………………………………..19
3.5 Urbanization and water quality………………………………………………….…...20
4.1 The study area: Kumasi metropolitan area…………………………………………..23
4.1.1 Area history…………………………………………………………………….…..23
4.1.2 Location and size…………………………………………………………………..23
4.1.3 Geological setting………………………………………………………………….25
4.1.4 Topography………………………………………………………………….……..25
4.1.5 Soil resources………………………………………………………………………27
4.1.6 Geohydrology and drainage………………………………………………………..27
5.1 Socio-economic profile in KMA………….…………………………………………29
5.1.1 Population and housing…………………………………………………………….29
5.1.2 Income and poverty levels………….………………………………………….…..32
5.1.3 Migration……………………………………………………………………….…..33
5.1.4 Employment status……………………….…………………………………….…..34 Forms of informal economic activities…………………………………………..35 urban agriculture……………………………………………………………….36 peri-urban agriculture ………………………………………………………….37
5.1.5 Spatial organization of informal economic activities………………………….…..38
5.1.6 Land tenure and ownership…………..…………………………………….………40
5.1.7 Land use………….…………………………………………………………….…..40
6.1 Sanitation and water resources in KMA……………………………………………..42
6.1.1 Consumption and waste generation………………………………………………..42
6.1.2 Sanitation……………………….………………………………………….………42
6.1.3 Water resources and utilization…………………………………………………….44
6.1.4 Water quality……………………………………………………………………….46
6.1.5 Health risk of polluted waters……………………………………………………...50
7.1 Sustainable development and KMA…………………………………………………53
7.1.1 Sanitation provision and water resources protection………………………………53
7.1.2 Urban planning……………………………………………………………………..55
8.1 Conclusions and Recommendations…………………………………………………57
8.2 References……………………………………………………………………………59
Figure 4.1: map of West Africa showing Ghana along the coast of Gulf of Guinea…….24
Figure 4.2: map of Ghana showing major cities…………………………………………24
Figure 4.3: map of Ashanti Region with arrow showing KMA....………………………25
Figure 4.4: average monthly rainfall distribution for Kumasi from 1985 to 1998………26
Figure 4.5: map of KMA showing old and new boundaries……………………………..28
Figure 4.6: schematic map showing some major drainages of KMA……………………28
Figure 5.1: a map showing Kumasi and some of its peri- urban villages………………...30
Figures 5.2 and 5.3: Pictures showing some spatial organizations as well
as the hustle and bustles of informal economic activities in the CBD……….39
Table 1.1: Percentage of African population residing in urban areas by region…………12
Table 2.2: Average annual growth rate of urban population in Africa by region………..12
Table 5.1: Population of Kumasi metropolitan area from 1970-2000…………………...31
Table 5.2: Population growth in selected peri- urban villages around KMA…………….31
Table 5.3: Some industries and their employment profile……………………………….34
Table 5.4: Share of labour in agriculture in selected peri- urban areas
around KMA, 1970-1996……………………………………………………...37
Table 6.1: Water consumption levels of some industries in KMA………………………45
Table 6.2: Some selected industries and their waste products…………………….……..47
Table 6.3: Mean values of water quality parameters from some streams in KMA……...48
Table 6.4: Average values of bacteriological, physico-chemical
and heavy metal analysis of wastewater samples from Kumasi…………….49
Table 6.5: Fertilizer inputs in farming operations in some
selected peri- urban Kumasi…………………………………………………...50
Table 6.6: Total coliform counts per 100ml of water and crop samples………………...52
Table 6.7: Heavy metal contents (mg/kg) of selected raw and cooked
vegetables (mean of 10 samples)……………………………………………..52
ASCE – American Society of Civil Engineers
BOD – Biological Oxygen Demand
BDL – Below Detection Level
COD – Chemical Oxygen Demand
CFP – Cities Feeding People
CEC – Cation Exchange Capacity
CBD – Central Business District
CEDAR – Center for Development Area Research
DFID - Department for International Development
DACF – District Assembly’s Common Fund
ESP – Environmental Sanitation Policy
GKCR – Greater Kumasi City Region
GSS – Ghana Statistical Services
GHC – Ghanaian Cedi
GWC – Ghana Water Company
ICMF – International Commission for Micro-Biological Specification for Food
IDRC – International Development Research Center
KMA – Kumasi Metropolitan Area
KNRMP – Kumasi Natural Resource Management Project
KNUST – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
MAFF – Ministry of Food And Fisheries
MERC – Micro- Enterprise Refuse Collection
MLGRD – Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
OECD – Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
SAP – Structural Adjustment Programme
TDS – Total Dissolved Salt
UNEP – United Nations Environment Programmes
UNCED – United Nations Commission on Environment and Development
UN-HABITAT – United Nations Human Settlement and Development
UNPD – United Nations Population and Development
UNDP – United Nations Development Programme
UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNECA – United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
UNICEF – United Nations International Children’s Education Fund
USLG – Urban Sanitation Learning Group
WHO – World Health Organization
WMD - Waste Management Department
1.1 Introduction And Background
Whilst the world’s urbanization trend tends to experience recession in most developed
countries, the trend in the African countries, especially the Sub-Saharan Africa, on the
contrary, is rapidly experiencing an unprecedented growth (Cohen, 1993). It is estimated
that in 2025, a little less than half of the Sub-Saharan African population will be living in
towns and cities. The Sub-region’s population growth rate, which stands at 2.6 percent
per annum, ranks the highest in the world and therefore places additional strains on all
systems. Poverty is endemic and has perpetuated under-development and
mismanagement of resources (UNEP, 1997)
Water resources exploitation is faced with expanding pressures and the nature of the
water environment deteriorates at present due to a number of reasons, among which is the
urbanization and its subsequent development of the peri- urban areas at the fringes of the
urban/city centers.
Within this context, therefore, urbanization and water resources vulnerability means how
and by which way the increase in the proportion of urban population relative to the total
population of a geographic region could pose a potential risk to the fresh water resources
of that region both quantitatively and qualitatively, and its subsequent implications
especially on the downstream populace. In other words, how exposed and susceptible the
water resources are to the urbanization and urban development.
The growth in urban inhabitants, both the agricultural and non-agricultural urbanites
inclusive, in Africa, especially the Sub-Saharan Africa has increased both formal and
informal small-scale economic activities, such as production of processed food and
manufacturing of non-agricultural products (aside domestic wastes), which has the
potential of increasing production of organic and inorganic by-products or wastes - some
of which may be biologically non-degradable - which when released into water courses
(both surface and groundwater) degrades the water and may render them unusable.
Similarly, increased in urbanization and/or urban growth will inevitably result in higher
demand for agricultural land for settlement – usually at the urban fringes, whose dwellers
engage in various agricultural activities for the purposes of increasing agricultural
produce either as food for direct consumption or crops for commercial purposes. This
normally will lead to high exploitation and possible degradation of surrounding water
resources due to increased fertilizer application and subsequent encroachment into more
natural resources, thus altering the land cover. As a result, the land is degraded ensuing in
rapid deforestation due to unsustainable or ‘bad’ agricultural practices. This could
enhance soil erosion and hence sediment transport, which may adversely affect especially
the quality of surface water resources, thereby threatening the food security of the
The processes of population increase and subsequent urban growth certainly leads to
increased demand for water for various purposes, and also leads to increased unit
generation of wastes (solid and liquid wastes), posing some degree of difficulty for the
waste disposal management. It is, therefore, within this framework of urban and periurban challenges that this thesis seeks to address.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
The increasing vulnerability of natural resources and the environment is one of the grand
challenges to mankind in recent times. One of the factors contributing to the increase in
water resources vulnerability in particular has been the phenomenon of urbanization and
urban growth. Increased in population and lack of adequate managerial capacity and
control has led to water scarcity, degradation of water resources and the environment due
to contamination, pollution and overexploitation.
Pinderhughes (2004) noted that cities are the places where most of the human population
now resides and where most of the resources consumption and waste generation takes
place. Kumasi is no exception to this phenomenon.
Kumasi, once known as the Garden City of Africa because of its low-density green
suburbs, is now expanding at an alarming rate (Corubolo and Mattingly, 1999). An
increasing number of people are either moving towards the city from rural areas in an
attempt to have access to the opportunities offered by the urban market, or are moving
from the city center to the peri- urban areas, where accommodation as well as land
acquisition is relatively affordable. This trend will certainly have a potential impact on
the natural resources in general and on the water resources in particular, which needs to
be effectively addressed.
The issue of urbanization is recognized in Ghana for the past decade, to the point that in
her report to the UNCED during the UN conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the
problem identified by Ghana in its considerations with respect to demographic dynamics
as a factor in environmental problem is urbanization, because of its impact on marine and
coastal environmental degradation (Marcoux, 1998). Indeed, the ecological footprint of
urbanization has been apparently clear and visible in the coastal areas.
However, the inland areas of Kumasi with its relatively endowed natural resources,
especially at its periphery, is gradually experiencing the impact as a result of rapid
expansion and increased economic and social activities - envisaged as a form of
economic development, leaves much to be desired.
Most research in connection with urban related issues pertaining to the Kumasi
Metropolitan Area (KMA) have been pursued from the perspectives of waste
management and health issues, water quality and manage ment as well as peri- urban
economic activities (Bradford, McGregor and Simon, 2003), (Nsiah-Gyabaah & Adam,
2001), (Cornish, Mensah and Ghesquiere, 1999). In all these investigations, the issue of
urbanization has been weakly addressed. The purpose of this study therefore is to address
this issue of urbanization and its influence on the water resources in and around Kumasi
Metropolitan Area.
1.3 Aim Of The Study
The general aim of the study has been to examine how the processes of urbanization and
all its accompaniments have the potential to impact on water resources in the Kumasi
Metropolitan Area. In view of this aim, the research intends to look specifically at:
1. Changes in urbanization patterns of Kumasi Metropolitan Area within the
time frame 1970 to 2000 and the possible future urbanization trend.
2. Socio-economic activities in and around the urban area of the Metropolis and
their implications on the available water resources both qualitatively and
3. Policy measures put in place to effective ly mitigate this phenomenon in line
with the principles of sustainable development.
With regards to the above, this study intends to answer the following questions:
1. What are the causes of urbanization as well as the urban and peri- urban
growths in the Kumasi Metropolis?
2. What are the relationship between water resources and the various socioeconomic activities in the urban and peri- urban areas of the Metropolis?
3. What are the sanitation situations in the Kumasi Metropolis?
4. What are the measures put in place to effectively mitigate the impacts of
urbanization in the Kumasi Metropolis?
1.4 Methodology And Information Sources
The choice of research strategy depends on the purpose of the study, since that will guide
the kind of information one is interested in finding (Jägeskog, 2003). Based on the aims
of the study therefore, I gathered information from different disciplines – due to the
interdisciplinary nature of the problem of urbanization - and with different methodology
to tackle each of the questions. An interdisciplinary approach has been used to integrate
perspectives on the same problem from more than one discipline (Acetelli, 1995).
It is imperative to mention, however, that this has been achieved not without some major
constraints. The constraints in this case have been the lack of financial resources to
facilitate the collection of primary sources of information and lack of response from the
various e- mail contacts and telephone calls as intended in the initial submission of the
thesis proposal.
In view of this, secondary data has formed the basis for this study. I would like to
emphasize at this juncture that the use of secondary sources of information is not
subordinate to the primary sources once it has been verified and its quality established.
Further, with my experience and knowledge of the Study area, having stayed there for
almost all my entire life, most of the problems or issues addressed in this study were
more or less apparent to me.
With regard to this premise, I applied Scott’s four criteria for assessing the quality of
documents from which I extracted my information. These are:
1. To check the authenticity of the information being extracted and whether the
information gathered is genuine and of unquestionable origin
2. To verify whether the information is credible and is free from error and
3. To find out whether the data source and information is representative and is
typical of its kind or not, and last but not least
4. Whether the meaning of the evidence gathered is clear and comprehensible
(Scott, 1990)
Overall, the study was drawn on both qualitative and quantitative research techniques,
based on intensive literature search. The aim of the qualitative approach is to enable me
analyze the concepts that I employed in this thesis. This is of significance especially
when analyzing issues of contemporary nature such as that of water (Jägeskog, 2003).
The quantitative approach, however, has been on secondary data mainly used to assess
the current demographic trend of Kumasi Metropolis, as well as some analysis of water
utilization and sewage generation. The use of both the qualitative and the quantitative
technique has been adopted in recognition of their individual weaknesses, so that each
would be complementary to the other.
The main sources of my data and information have been from:
1. Textbooks, articles, conference proceedings and journals pertaining to the
demography, water resources and urbanization in the Kumasi Metropolis, in
this regard the Linköping university library has been the major resource for
this study
2. Mass media outputs such as newspapers and magazines ensuing out of public
3. Virtual outputs such as the internet sources
1.5 Organization Of The Thesis
The thesis is divided into eight chapters. Each chapter contains sections and subsections.
A brief overview of each chapter is outlined below:
Chapter one presents an introduction and background to the thesis. It also outlines the
statement of the problem, the methodology as well the information sources.
Chapter two presents a brief definition of terms and an outline of concepts underlying the
research. In addition, the chapter also presents an overview, as well as the trends and
dynamics of urbanization with particular emphasis on African settings.
Chapter three generally draws attention to the impacts of urbanization with regards to the
environment. This it does by establishing the linkages between urbanization and water, as
well as urbanization and land use.
Chapter four gives a brief description of the study area in terms of its physical
environment and characteristics.
Chapter five also draws on those factors that have contributed to the urban population
growth and its physical expansion. The socio-economic activities in the study area are
also outlined in this chapter.
Chapter six also presents the sanitation situation in the study area. Also water resources
and their characteristics, including their utilization in the area is presented. The health
risks posed by polluted waters in the study area are also outlined.
Chapter seven seeks to operationalize the concept of sustainable development in the
study area in terms of policy measures regarding urban planning, sanitation provision and
water resources protection.
Chapter eight ends up with conclusions and possible recommendations resulting from the
research study. References to the citations made in the texts are also listed in this chapter.
2.1 Defining Terms And Concepts
To start with, it would be very significance to bring to the fore some definitions of
terminologies and concepts for better understanding of this thesis.
2.1.1 Urban
Some define urban as a town, and a town is a place where people live and work,
containing many houses, shops, places of work, places of entertainment, etc, thus refers
to both the build-up agglomeration and the areas for which it provides services and
facilities. 1 From the sociological perspectives, though not a focus in this piece, an urban
is a term used to describe a person who si good at knowing what to say and how to
behave in social situations 2 .
Drescher and Iaquinta (2002) examined some of these definitions and argued that the
term has been interchangeably used synonymously without regard to their inherent
differences. They assert that whilst all cities are urban areas, not all urban areas are cities.
They therefore conceptualized the term ‘urban’ as being a subjective statistical concept,
whose definition is set by a country’s government.
Thus, governments of small or relatively rural countries may simply declare one or more
settlements as urban, regardless of size or function (Drescher et al, 2002). In many
countries, the definition is based on a threshold number of inhabitants. Hence when the
population of a region exceeds a certain threshold number, that region is considered
urban (ibid). While, for example, a threshold number of inhabitants in a settlement
exceeding 5,000 is considered urban in Ghana, the threshold number should be more than
10,000 to reach the urban status in Italy and Senegal. For sparsely populated countries
like Sweden, the population of the locality should be 200 to rise to an urban status
(Holmen, 2004: personal communication).
Some governments base their definition on combinations of criteria, such as population
density, political functions or predominant activity of the region (Drescher et al, 2002).
2.1.2 Concept of Urbanization
The term urbanization as conventionally measured by demographers is urban population
divided by total population for a region (Glenn, 1984). It could also be defined as the
annual rate of change of the percentage living in urban areas, or the difference between
the growth rates of the urban population and that of the total population (Hope Sr., 1998).
Pivo (1996) also defines urbanization as the processes of transformation that affects
geographic regions when they become more urban, and that during the processes of
urbanization, a growing share of a region’s land and people become included in cities,
Available at: www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/pdfs/urban_area_defn.pdf
Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary. 6th Edition.
suburbs and towns. He further referred to the term as the processes of cultural and
sociological change caused by the transformation of rural life style into that of the urban.
However, a distinction needs to be made between urbanization and urban growth. Whilst
the latter is fuelled from three sources, i.e., the natural demographic growth of the already
urbanized population; the balance of rural-urban migration; and the absorption of small
rural centers that sometimes occur at the fringes of cities, the former (i.e. urbanization)
must be kept for the rise in relative proportion of the urban population, which in most
analysis leaves natural growth aside.
The definition of the term over-urbanization has been discussed among scholars.
Hoselitz (1957) defined the term to mean when a nation contains a smaller industrial
employment base than contemporary wealthy countries did at comparable levels of
urbanization. This view was however discredited by Sovani (1964) as he takes it to imply
that Third world urbanization and industrialization should necessarily follow the path
established by developed nations.
However, the conceptualization adopted by York (1985) could be to a limited extent
applicable to this study. In his view, a nation becomes over-urbanized when it lacks a
sufficient level of development to provide adequate employment and housing for citizens
migrating to urban areas, the resulting urban growth in the nations has increased urban
unemployment, expanded the service and informal sectors and produced slums and
squatter settlements.
The focus of this thesis, however, will be on both agricultural as well as non-agricultural
urban population. The non-agricultural urban populations are those urban settlers whose
main occupation is connected not to agricultural activities but to manufacturing and
service sectors which Glenn (1984) conceptualized as the ‘Eligible Population
Highlighting on the agricultural urban populace in this context finds relevance in the
understanding of the rural- urban linkages in Africa. This leads to the phenomenon called
“ruralization” of the urban areas, (Holmen, 2004; Personal communication), and refers to
the situation where large assemblages of people become concentrated in settlements,
which lack urban functions.
This is particularly linked to over- urbanization in the sense that the large influxes of rural
unskilled immigrants, usually maintains their rural life-styles, value systems, occupations
etc, and are thus not urbanized in the real meaning of the term. These inhabitants have to
make living through more or less rural means such as urban agriculture, which is
addressed in detail in the following sections. Moreover, when fast growing cities
subsume surrounding villages, those inhabitants are not necessarily urbanized in the
above- mentioned sense of the term, instead “ruralization” within urban centers is
2.1.3 Concept of peri-urban
The term ‘peri- urban’ came into wide use during the 1980’s in Europe. Literally, it means
‘around the edges or periphery of a city’. It is used to describe the kind of human
settlements, which includes but not limited to edge city, informal settlement, illegal
settlement, legal settlement, shantytowns, squatter settlement etc., which may be large or
small and located on the fringe of urban settlement or areas (OECD, 1979).
A peri- urban is a concept referring to a zone or an area where urban and rural
development processes meet, mix and interact on the edge of the cities. It is often not a
discrete area, but rather a diffuse territory identified by combinations of features and
phenomena, generated largely by activities within the urban zone proper (OECD, 1979).
This suggests that the development of a peri- urban is an inevitable consequence of the
urbanization, in that as cities continue to grow, the peri-urban area also grows and
Considering the role of peri- urban as a transition between the urban and rural settings,
Rakodi (1983) defines the peri- urban interface as a dynamic zone both spatially and
structurally. He argued, that spatially it is the transition zone between fully urbanized
land in cities and areas in predominantly agricultural use. It is characterized by mixed
land use and indeterminate inner and outer boundaries, and is typically split between
numbers of administrative areas. The land area that can be characterized as peri- urban
shifts overtime, as cities expand. It is also a zone of rapid economic, social and structural
changes, characterized by pressure on natural resources, changing labour market
opportunities and changing patterns of land use (Rakodi, 1998).
These foregoing definitions conceptualize the idea of shifts or development of the edge of
the cities in an outward moving manner, which in a way could be considered a pre-urban
area, as it will eventually and overtime be subsumed into the urban area proper.
The basic idea of these definitions is that the peri-urban zone is that which experiences a
direct impact of a city where rural effects such as pollution from the city are likely to be
felt. Structure of peri-urban interface
Due to the diffuse nature of the peri-urban fringe, identified as the zone of transition that
is not static, but very dynamic, delineation of its spatial extent is rather daunting,
however surmountable. Its dynamism applies to all of its aspect, ranging from land use to
the social as well as to its demographic aspects.
Bryant et al (1982), however, identifies peri-urban interface as being characterized by an
internal structure of different layers gradually diffusing into another. He therefore
categorized the peri- urban fringe into four stratum based on its spatial extent into: the
inner fringe, the outer fringe, the urban shadow, and the rural hinterland.
Based on the social component of the peri- urban fringe dynamics, Iaquinta and Drescher
(2000) define the peri- urban fringe into five social classes arising within the complex
continuum from rural to urban and that fall within the range of phenomena that various
scholars and practitioners have identified as peri- urban. Each of these classes is
connected to a specific peri- urban type and hypothesized to a rise from a specific
demographic processes underlying urbanization. These classifications are; village periurban, in-place peri- urban, diffused peri- urban, chain peri- urban and absorbed peri- urban.
Among the factors influencing the growth of peri-urban include the population growth,
easy access to land and improved transportation systems.
In conclusion therefore, it could be said that the peri- urban is a transformative arena
linked by economic activities, the social fabric to the spatial component. It is a dynamic
environment due to the flow of migrants of perhaps low- income earners (to have access
to cheaper land and accommodation) or high- income earners (to get rid of urban
congestion and noise), and the density and heterogeneity of activities in these areas.
2.2 Urban and peri-urban agriculture
The rapid development of urban centers, acts as the magnet for rural-urban migration,
especially in the less developed countries, because of their endowed ‘abundant’
infrastructure facilities relative to the rural areas, resulting in an unplanned growth, which
has caused the development of squatter units and subsequently into shanty towns within
the boundaries of urban centers as well as in the peri-urban areas.
The underemployed as well as unemployed urban poor who could not secure employment
into government and commerce, together with the dwellers of these squatter units must
necessarily device the means of livelihoods or the ways to supplement their income. One
of the strategies to earn or supplement income has been to engage in urban or peri- urban
agriculture (Mlozi, Lupanga, and Mvena, 1992) as mentioned earlier.
Urban and peri- urban agriculture may be said to be an activity that produces, processes
and markets food and other products on land and water in urban and peri- urban areas,
applying intensive production methods and (re)using natural resources and urban wastes.
Food products in these activities include, but are not limited to fruits and vegetables,
livestock, poultry and fish. Other urban and peri- urban agriculture products which
generates income include amongst others, trees, shrubs, flowers, and ornamental plants
(OECD, 1979).
Studies conducted by the International Development Research Center (IDRC, 1998)
revealed that 56 percent of the world’s absolute poor would be living in urban areas
within the next couple of years. The net effect of this increase will therefore be to
increase significantly the contribution of urban food production to the local as well as
world food production; this according to CFP Report (Report 22) is expected to increase
from 15 percent in 1993 to 33 percent in 2005, even though the rural sector will continue
to be the main food producers.
In most urban areas agriculture is practiced in areas which are not suitable for building
construction, undeveloped land, idle public or private land or in household spaces. The
household spaces – which are sometimes characterized as home gardens – are used to
grow high value intensively grown crops such as vegetables (Mlozi et al, 1992). Another
type of plot is to be found on the periphery of urban centers, within commuting distances,
that is as far as public or other means of transport can take the farmer, which may be
some few kilometers away, depending on the size of the farm. The most common crops
grown in these areas include maize, plantains, pineapples, rice, cassava and coconut
palms (ibid).
Harsh economic conditions normally constitute the major factors, which encourage urban
cultivation - aimed at supplementing income and provisions of food for self-sufficiency.
The availability of supply factors, i.e. land, water, family labour etc. as well as markets
availability could also constitute factors, which encourage urban agriculture.
The lack of security of land tenure as land are constantly sold unawares by chiefs and
municipal authorities for the purposes of residential development and/or urban
infrastructure facilities, has been the main constraints and limitations confronting urban
farmers in the less developed countries. Other factors serving as constraints to urban
farmers are theft of crops, crop pests and diseases, destruction of crops by passers-by,
stray animals, vehicles, construction firms, town repair crews, town-planning activities
etc. Crop contamination due to urban garbage and refuse damps is also a major constraint
2.3 Urbanization Trend In Africa
The face of the world is changing more rapidly now than at any time in history, and two
trends are primarily responsible for the transformation (UN-Habitat, 2001). The
population of the world continues to grow more and more quickly, and for a variety of
reasons (which will be discussed later on), people are moving into cities at a rate not seen
since the industrial revolution swelled the cities of the developed world more than a
century ago (ibid).
In 2000, world population reached 6.1 billion, and is now growing at an annual rate of 1.2
percent, or 77 million people per year (UNPD, 2002), and it is projected to reach 8 billion
by 2030.
Africa, has witnessed a dramatic population increase, from 221 million in 1950 to 785
million in 2000. Despite the fact that population growth rates have declined since the mid
1980s, Africa remains the world’s fastest growing region, at an estimated rate of 2.4
percent per annum. Although future growth rates are expected to be lower, the region will
attain an estimated population of 1406 million by the year 2030 (ibid).
The urban population of the world is also increasing in much same trend as that of the
world population. According to Mabogunje (1968), it has been one of the most
impressive phenomena of the twentieth century growth of cities. At no time in human
history such strong inclination to agglomeration in large numbers in a few cities has been
recorded. While in the seventeenth century only 2.4 percent of the world’s population
lived in cities of more than 20,000 people, by 1950 the population has risen to 20.9
percent (Davis, 1976). This rapid urban ‘explosion’ is, expected to continue well into the
foreseeable future (Hope Sr., 1998).
Whereas 30 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas in 1950, the proportion
of urban dwellers rose to 47 percent by the year 2000 and is projected to attain 60 percent
by 2030 (UNPD, 2002). It has been projected, that almost all the population increase
expected during 2000-2030 will be absorbed by the urban areas of the less developed
regions (UNPD, 2002). In other words, nearly two-thirds of the urban dwellers in the
world will reside in the Third World by the year 2030. Even though the levels of
urbanization is considerably lower in the less developed regions, where 40 percent of the
population lived in urban areas in 2000, this proportion is expected to rise to 56 percent
by 2030 (ibid)
But this phenomenon comes not without significant variations in the level and pace of
urbanization in these regions.
With 38 and 36.2 percent of their respective population living in urban areas in 2000,
Africa and Asia are considerably less urbanized but consequently, however, are expected
to experience rapid rate of urbanization during the years 2000-2030 (ibid).
The much talk about the Africa’s urban population is focused mainly on the urban
population’s growth rate, which is envisaged to be the main driving force causing stresses
in many African economies. With an average annual growth rate of 3.7 percent, Africa is
the fastest urbanizing region in the world. Nevertheless, Africa is still largely rural and
agricultural. In absolute terms, urban population is far lower than that of other continents
but is expected to grow from 297 million in 2000 to 766 million in 2030 (UNDP, 1996).
It is worth noting that even in Africa, differences exist among the Sub-regions. For
example, in 1990, approximately 22 percent of the East African population resided in
urban areas compared to 33 percent, 38 percent, 45 percent and 55 percent for West
Africa, Middle Africa, North Africa and the Southern Africa respectively. This range and
rank order was projected to be maintained through 2025, although at a higher level (Hope
Sr., 1998). The percentage urban is projected to vary from 47 percent in Eastern Africa to
74 percent in Southern Africa.
Despite such overall rapid urbanization, low levels of urbanization characterize the least
developed countries such as Burkina Faso, Burundi, and Ethiopia. All of these countries
had fewer than 20 percent of their population living in urban areas in 1990. In Burundi,
for example, only 5.5 percent of the population is urban and it is projected that it will be
fewer than 20 percent urban in 2025 (Hope Sr., 1998).
As seen in Table1.1 current urban growth rates are high for every region in Africa but
much more so in East Africa. These high growth rates will persist to the end of the
century due to ‘demographic momentum’ (caused by higher proportion of the youth
population), but with a monotonic decline (Hope Sr., 1998). However, even during the
period 2020 to 2030, African urban population are expected to be growing at 3 percent
per year, a rate that would be six times the projected rate for the industrial countries.
Similarly, the rate of urbanization is expected to decline in Africa from 1.9 percent in
1990-95 to 1.2 percent in 2020-30 (ibid).
Table 1.1: Percentage of African Population Residing in
Urban Areas by Region
Source: UN World Urbanization Prospects (New York: UN,
1990 pp.106-109)
Table 2.1: Average annual growth rate of urban population in Africa
By region
Source: UN World Urbanization Prospects 1990 (New York: UN pp. 154-155)
2.4 Dynamics Of Urbanization in Africa
The growth of a city is usually as a result of a combination of two factors (Sporrek,
1985). These are the natural growth, where the populations birth rate is higher than its
death rate, i.e., a fertility factor, which is argued as being a key element in the population
development, and which is to a considerable degree a socially and culturally conditioned
factor (Kaponen, 1988). The second element occurs as a result of net supplies in the
migration in and out of the urban area (Sporrek, 1985). A third factor which is a
combination of both the natural growth and migration come into play as a result of an
expansion of administrative boundaries of a city to incorporate newly settled areas and
old villages. This is termed by Sporrek as a ‘technical growth’ rather than real growth.
The natural growth and migration could therefore be seen as the main causes of urban
population growth and for that matter, urbanization in Africa. These are highlighted
below in turn.
2.4.1 Natural population growth: In the demographic transition concept, a natural
population growth occurs when fertility rates are in excess of mortality rates.
The primary factors in the decline in mortality around the world have been documented
and are better understood than the factors in the decline of fertility (Hope Sr., 1998). The
decrease in mortality was in large part the unanticipated and unplanned by-products of
social, technological, economic and political change (Hope, 1996a). In relation to urbanrural linkages, Barke and O’Hare explained that the urban birth rate exceeds the rural in
many cases in the less developed countries with the urban death rate also being lower
than the rural death rate (Barke and O’Hare, 1986). Barke et al further argued that this
evidence does not support the general view that deaths especially infant deaths tend to be
catastrophically high in urban areas of the Third World. It appears likely therefore that
natural increase may well be higher in the cities than in the rural areas of the Third World
(Barke and O’Hare, 1986).
In Africa, population growth has accelerated from an average of 2.7 percent per year
during 1965-80 to approximately 3.1 percent per year in 1998, attributable mainly to
decline in mortality rates (Hope Sr., 1998). However, the decline in mortality rate did not
occur without some major catastrophic ailments, such as malaria, tuberculosis and
HIV/AIDS epidemic, which have taken the lives of many Africans. The main reasons for
this state of affairs is attributed to the persistence of poverty in the continent, leading to
the deteriorating situation of poor sanitation, poor sewage systems and inadequate and
polluted water supplies (Hope Sr., 1998).
These ailments have subsequently reduced the already low life expectancy levels
especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, which averaged around 51 years during the period
1990-95, and is still considerably below that of the other developing country regions
(Bongaats, 1995). Africa is the only region in the world that is yet to experience
significant reproductive change (Hope Sr., 1998).
The total fertility rate for Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has remained virtually
unchanged at about 6.3 to 6.6 percent for the past 25 years. This is significantly higher
than in other regions and countries wit h similar levels of income, life expectancy, female
education, and contraceptive prevalence (Hope Sr., 1998). In a few countries in SubSaharan Africa, fertility has, in fact, increased, while it has been declining in the rest of
the developing world (Cleaver and Schreiber, 1994).
2.4.2 Migration: Rural to urban migration is basically motivated by an expected increase
in standard of living, where people normally have to escape the rural environment
increasingly incapable of sustaining them and may be attracted by urban environment that
seems to offer a better standard of living. These two scenarios are often related, even
though intrinsically distinct, in the sense that the rural environment acts as a “push”
factor on migrants. ‘Difficult’ conditions in the rural areas on the one hand, linked to the
problems associated with rising population pressure, land tenure uncertainties, poor land
use and environmental resource degradation aggravates rural poverty providing a push to
the cities (Cleaver and Schreiber, 1994). On the other hand, access to clean water, better
sanitation, health facilities and other services, however rudimentary, is likely to be better
in the urban areas than the rural areas. This tends to attract rural dwellers to the urban
centers and hence acts as the “pull” factor on migrants (ibid)
Most decisions concerning migration of rural dwellers to urban areas in African in
particular are made either by an individual migrants, by households or by the ethnic
group, which is seldom made to a place where nobody is known, and hence the decision
to migrate is usually on some information thus mentioned above (Holm, 1992).
Africa and the Tropical Africa in particular is somewhere in the beginning of
urbanization processes presently and migration still plays a dominant role in the growth
of cities. For example, from 1975-90, the migrants’ share of urban growth in Kenya,
Senegal, Tanzania, and Tunisia, are respectively 64, 75, 85 and 77 (Hope Sr., 1998). Far
in excess of the natural growth, indicating that migration contributes largely to the urban
growth in this region.
2.5 Urbanization And Development
Development may be said to be a general term, which denotes an act of improving by
expanding or enlarging or refining. It could also connote a gradual or sudden progress of
a system from one (lower) stage to another (higher) level. This definition is however,
basic, as there seems to be no general/international consensus for the definition as it
defers from one context to the other and also depends on the terms of reference at which
one is looking at.
Within the context of this thesis, the term is used to refer to the growth of urban/city
centers in commensurate to its economic growth and to a lesser extent, its social and
human development.
In terms of human and social development, the criteria of measurement could be a
statistical improvement in health status (expressed in life expectancy, mortality rate and
calories consumed per day per capita); education; as well as general welfare (i.e. poverty
rate and income or wealth inequality).
Many assume that urbanization is linked to development, that is, economic as well as
social development, whose results manifests through modernization (Rostow, 1960).
Rostow argues that industrialization and development are linked together by the fact that
economic growth is an outcome of industrialization.
Industrialization, is seen, as central to economic development and improved prospects for
human well-being, the benefits of which is evident through the production of goods and
services in all aspects of life, ranging from consumer goods to the provisions of systems
of transportation to the advances made in technological innovations.
Most of Africa’s industrialization is agriculturally based, even though a resource base
industrialization is on the increase (Potter and Lloyd-Evans, 1998).
Nevertheless, most industries in Africa are found within the cities or urban centers,
resulting in rapid rural – urban migration by rural dwellers, (Hope Sr., 1998). And to
paraphrase Hope Sr., this tends to concentrate economic activities in the urban areas and
maintain the urban bias in development policies.
Even though widely accused of over-simplification, Lipton (1977) argues that the policies
of central governments in most developing countries focus on the development of the
urban centers at the expense of the rural dwellers. This led to the ‘urban bias’ hypothesis,
by Lipton, which states that ‘most resources in most poor countries are systematically
allocated (shifted) to the urban areas rather than the rural areas where most people live
(Lipton, 1977). This means that investments are likely to be in the urban areas or cities
than the rural areas.
This situation, has accorded an undue advantage to the urban dwellers, with the disparity
manifesting through the fact that:
1. Urban residents have higher average personal incomes and greater average
consumption levels than the rural dwellers
2. Urban (non- farm) wages are higher than the rural (farm) pay levels; and
3. The ratio of output per worker outside the agricultural sectors (valuing output
at prevailing prices) is typically well over one, indicating that urban workers
are more productive than rural labourers (ibid).
The main point that Lipton is emphasizing, is that this disparity is created and maintained
by central governments’ policies designed to assist metropolitan centers at the expense of
rural areas. This disparity manifests in all aspects of social and economic life. For
example, in a report presented by Vaz and Jha (2001) highlighting the difference in water
supply and sanitation accessibility in Africa, the percentage of urban to rural areas is
recorded as 85 to 46 and 85 to 45 respectively for water and sanitation.
It is worth noting that even though Lipton’s theories seem applicable in some cases it
could however not be applicable in most situations, as most urban areas of developing
countries have been found to contribute more to the countries GDP for example in taxes
than their rural counterparts (see Lundqvist et al, 2003).
3.1 Environmental Consequences Of Urbanization
Water is a precious natural resource vital for sustaining all life on the earth. It is in a
continuous circulation movement (i.e., hydrological cycle), and is not uniformly
distributed in time and space. Due to its multiple benefits and the problems created by its
excesses, shortages and quality deterioration, water, as finite resource requires special
attention (Pinderhughes, 2004).
It is observed that by the year 2025 more than half of the world’s population will be
residing in urban areas and big cities as stated earlier, and more than two-thirds of these
urban dwellers are expected to occur in less developed countries, whose economic
resources and infrastructure base are by far outpaced by the urban and sub- urban growth
of its populace (Lundqvist, Appasamy and Nelliyat, 2003).
It is, without the stretch of imagination, therefore, that as cities grow, things happen that
can deplete (quantitatively) as well as harm the quality of the available local water
resources and as Lundqvist et al (2003) noted that as urban areas and population expand,
the demand for water, energy and other resources also expand. The increase in the use of
water and other resources in combination with input of various chemicals, generate
tremendous volumes of non-desirable by-products and pollution far in excess of what can
be handled and what is being disposed and diluted.
The most striking environmental problems and subsequent impacts of urbanization, aside
water resources, especially in the African setting are unsustainable land use changes, land
degradation, deforestation and loss of biological diversity (UNECA, 2001). Inadequate
and unsound management of natural resources on which large part of these economies are
based, is one of the underlying causes of this situation, particularly in the areas of high
population density and growth.
It should however be noted (Kjellen and McGranahan, 1997) that a city or the urban
areas’ ability to grow in harmony with the surrounding ecosystem depends on the natural
stings of that particular city, and more generally, it is primarily the wasteful practices of
the urban- industrial age that strain the world’s resources and not the urbanization itself.
This is to substantiate the fact that urbanization has nonetheless some socio-economic
benefit that comes or is associated with it.
A brief overview of the urban dynamics in the developed world revealed that
urbanization is as a result of natural growth with large industrial base and perhaps over
90 percent of their settlement being of formal status. In contrast to these, however, the
urban dynamism of the less developed countries, especially of the Sub-Saharan Africa, is,
largely the result of rural- urban migration, large agro-economy and characterized by
informal shantytowns and squatter settlements (UN-Habitat, 2003). The results of these
will be one of the environmental and natural resource degradation available and
accessible to these local urban poor.
This chapter therefore seeks to bring into fore some vulnerability issues of water
resources, resulting from the consequential impacts of urbanization and urban growth and
development. In other words, the implications of urban population growth on the natural
environmental resources with the emphasis, however, on water resources quality and
3.2 Urban Water Resources And Sustainable Development
As noted by Marcoux (1994), ‘…of all natural resources, water is the most essential. It is
fundamental to all vital processes of value to mankind. It seems abundant at first sight –
almost 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water, yet perhaps two billion
people live in areas with chronic water shortages. Quantitative supply and water quality
problems are mounting and could constrain economic development and human wellbeing in general.’
It is in recognition of the existence of these problems, among others, that the WCED,
1987, UN conference in Rio de Janeiro 1992 and subsequent World Summit in
Johannesburg, advocated for the adoption of strategies in order to identify trade-offs
between economic, social and environmental interests in society in what has come to be
known as the ‘Sustainable Development’, which is defined by WCED as development
that meets the need of the present generation without compromising the ability of the
future generations to meet their needs (WCED, 1987)
Preservation and protection of water resources is a central imperative of sustainable
development. In fact, all the targeted goals (i.e. poverty reductions, human health
improvement etc.) are, as conceptualized by Falkenmark and Rockström (2002), water
related. Subsequently fears have been expressed by many with regards to impending
‘hydrocide’ caused through pollution, excessive water consumption and destruction of
water resources, which if not properly taken care of could result in disease outbreaks,
ecosystem disturbance and social disorders (Lundqvist, 1998)
Various kinds of development in and around the urban areas, of the developing countries
in particular, are being carried out without adequate considerations of their ecological
impacts, especially with regards to water resources - all in the name of development and
economic growth. Urban developments have an effect on water in several ways – impact
on ground water, surface water, runoffs etc - thus, sustainable development incorporates
into its goals and methods the long range impacts of development on the natural
environment and on its utility for human beings in the present and future generations.
Although, cities provide many economic opportunities, they also confront an array of
environmental challenges. Human settlements, through urbanization are the focal point in
an integrated combination of all human activity – residence, work, education, health,
culture, leisure, production and consumption (Hope Sr. and Lekorwe, 1999).
Consequently, the environmental impacts of urbanization include; the inadequacy of
physical infrastructure and services, the health conseque nces of crowding and increased
exposure to concentrated wastes, unsustainable resources consumption and greater
settlement on environmentally fragile lands (Hope Sr. et al, 1999). This steadily
deteriorating situation has had a disproportionate impact on the urban poor (World Bank,
In the case of urban settlement, therefore, sustainable development means the ability to
sustain the future needs of the urban residents (Haughton and Hunter, 1994). This points
out to a search for more meaningful planning and for comprehensive integrated, holistic
approaches, as sustainable ecological base has always been essential for the long-term
survival of humanity.’ (Evans and Benedito, 2001).
Thus as far as sustainable water resources utilization is concerned, the principle requires
that the water resources systems be designed and managed to fully contribute to the
objectives of society, now and in the future, while maintaining their ecological,
environmental and hydrological integrity (ASCE/UNESCO, 1998).
3.3 Urbanization And Land Use
A landscape is a composite system where ecohydrological phenomena form important
components, and can be thought of as a geological matrix, represented by its topography,
geomorphology, mineral composition, as well as the permeability characteristics of its
various layers or components (Falkenmark and Peters, 1999). Accordingly, when such
climatic forces as rain and evaporation act on this matrix, the water flows are partitioned
along pathways on the surface or in the ground (ibid).
Land use and land cover changes therefore can have significant impact on the hydrology
and hydrological cycle in an area or a watershed. Since the landscape contains the natural
resources on which humans depend, i.e. water, biomass, energy sources and minerals and
other basic materials (Falkenmark et al, 1999), any use or exploitation of these resources
can cause changes in the land cover, which consequently modifies the local ecosystem.
Thus, the proposition by Falkenmark et al of a principle that ‘a water decision is also a
land use decision’, in relation to the effective management of water resources, which
must take into consideration the surrounding land.
It is undeniable fact that as urbanization expands the land with its natural vegetative and
forest covers are cleared to give way for residential and industrial purposes. It has been
shown (Jin- Yang, 2003) that there has been an increase in runoff after vegetation
removal, as a result of urbanization.
Similarly, Barnes et al (2003) noted in connection with landscape changes in Chesapeake
bay, that the increasing imperviousness of a landscape as a result of urbanization, has five
broad interrelated impacts which include: alteration of a local and regional hydrologic
cycles (i.e. changes in water quantity; changes in water quality; changes to local energy
balance and microclimates); habitat degradation, loss and fragmentation of forests; and
changes to stream and landscape aesthetics.
There is a general saying that urbanization has converted the green space into black
space, referring to the asphalt and other hard concrete surfaces. These constructions act as
waterproof surfaces in the urban areas and the cities. The complex and in some cases
complicated urban drainage systems allow a quick runoff of precipitation away from
surfaces. The net effect of which culminates into less evaporation and less groundwater
recharge, thus affecting the local hydrological cycle (Marsalek, Rochfort and Savic,
3.4 Urbanization And Water Demand
Global concern about water scarcity include not only surface water resources, but
groundwater sources as well, from the perspective of the dramatic increase in
urbanization rates, especially in the less developed countries, which poses serious
challenges to water resources availability. A special problem however results in the
supply of water to the fast growing suburban and peri- urban areas (Jacks, 2003).
The expanding urban areas outwards beyond the reach of metropolitan water supply
infrastructure normally compel the settlers to rely on both the local surface and
groundwater sources. Wells are therefore drilled into the underlying strata and rock
formations (Jacks, 2003) in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The over reliance and the
subsequent excessive withdrawals become more than the storage and transmission of
waters in these aquifers, which has the potential of robbing the rivers of a significant
fraction of their flow (Revenga et al, 2000) thus resulting in a scarce and unreliable
supplies of water.
Aside the above effects, residential and industrial developments on rock formations and
aquifers, also results in the loss of water, since the underlying aquifers then become
inaccessible or the quality of the underlying waters become impaired as a result of
activities which generate undesirable by-products.
Increase demand for water as a result of increase in urban population growth rate, also
leads to increase competition among different sectors, i.e., domestic, municipal, industrial
and agricultural sectors (Meinzen-Dick and Appasamy, 2001). They demonstrated the
fact that urban water demand comes from the concentration in cities of people, whose
survival depends on water availability as well as the demand by the urban economic
activities. These require large volumes of water to be withdrawn to meet their demands.
The overriding sectors in urban areas, as noted by Meinzen-Dick et al (2001), are the
domestic and industrial sectors. Water for direct consumption through drinking, bathing,
cooking and cleaning, becomes important in the domestic sectors, for the upkeep of
human health. Despite the increased recognition of the importance of domestic water
supplies, however, an estimated 1.1 billion people worldwide do not have access to
adequate quantity or quality of domestic water, and at least 2.2 million die annually of
water related diseases (WHO & UNICEF, 2000). The situation is even worse, especially
for those people living in slums and peri- urban areas, who do not receive adequate share
of municipal water supplies.
Like other human activities, industrial production is dependent on water for processing,
cooling and evacuation of effluents and this category of needs is rapidly increasing, and
population growth contributes to that increase, as income growth and the diversificatio n
of needs play a bigger role to that effect (Marcoux, 1994). Accordingly, time has shown
that global water requirements has increased by, at least, 50 percent, and perhaps 70
percent as at 2000, and the fastest growth in demand is expected to take place in Africa
and South America, but the largest absolute increases by far will be in Asia (ibid).
Another most important consumer of water has been the agricultural sector. Even though
largely considered as rural, urban agriculture is gaining significance (Meinzen-Dick et al,
2001), especially in the Africa sub-region of the Sahara. According to the UNDP (1996),
an estimated 800 million people worldwide take part in the urban agriculture with 150
million full- time farmers. Gardens in cities and peri- urban areas contribute significantly
to incomes, food security and nutritional value of diets, especially, for the poor.
Livestock production (including dairy) is also a significant source of income and
micronutrients, while trees contribute to food, fuel, and air quality, as they improve the
overall urban environment. All of this, as noted by Meinzen-Dick et al (2001) requires
water drawn from municipal systems, local wells, and water harvesting, or recycled
As urban population grows, demand for agricultural products also increases. This
requires additional irrigated land and corresponding water supplies. Not only their water
demand being enormous, but also their use is consumptive (Falkenmark and Rockstöm,
2002). Consumptive use in this context refers to the unavailability of these waters to the
downstream users, either in quantity or quality wise.
In conclusion, therefore, it will be realized that per capita requirement for water for
agricultural purposes will continue to increase, especially, in the developing countries,
given the projections in population, and for that matter urban population increases. And
as put forward Marcoux ‘…in the medium term, population and economic growth will
exert even greater pressure on water resources on land. Africa and Asia already suffer
from diminishing per caput water supplies, and many countries already are closer to their
water resource limits than to their land’
3.5 Urbanization And Water Quality
‘…The way in which urban development unfolded has caused major problems in water
resources, among them changes in the flow of streams, changes in the hydrological
patterns of streams, changes in the amount of suspended sediment, sedimentation and
siltation of reservoirs, excessive drawdown of groundwater levels and difficulties in
recycling potentially limiting resources such as phosphorous from wastewater back to
agriculture (Anton, 1993).
Increase in urban population can affect water quality in several ways. The influx of rural
migrants into the cities and urban areas requires the municipalities to accommodate and
provide for both a higher demand for safe and clean freshwaters and an increase in the
volumes of generated wastewater, which will need to be treated.
The movement of people to the periphery of the urban centers will mean marginal
clearing of the already limited agricultural land for building homes and other
infrastructure constructions, i.e., roads, parking lots etc. These processes impact
negatively on the availability as well as quality of water resources as lakes, streams,
rivers, and in some cases ponds in an area.
The assimilative capacity of the land to absorb much of the rain that falls becomes
disturbed during the normal storm events after the land is stripped of its vegetative cover,
and even during the processes of clearing and development, some nearby streams can be
affected by the construction of these infrastructure. Further, the structured land surface as
the result of grading, removes much of the humus and small depressions, which serve to
temporarily pond rainwater, are filled. This acts to decrease the time it takes for runoff to
reach nearby streams (Schueler, 1987).
Roads, sidewalks, parking spaces and rooftops, collectively referred to, as impervious
surfaces, are all now part of the urban landscapes. Rainfall that hits these surfaces is
converted directly into runoff, which must be channeled away from the site through the
use of curbs, gutters and storm sewers (Schueler, 1994). Increase in runoff can affect
streams in several ways.
The larger volume, velocity and peak discharge of runoff means that many streams
experience frequent and more severe flooding (ibid). This flooding can destabilize the
stream bed and stream banks, and overtime cause an erosion of the channel, which has a
negative impact on stream habitat, as small pools and riffles for spawning are scoured out
or covered over by coarse sediment.
Another important impact of increased urban storm water is an increase in pollutant
loads. In urban areas storm water can wash litter, grease, heavy metals, pathogens,
petroleum products etc, directly into waterways. Increases in pollutants can also severely
stress stream biota. Undisturbed streambeds typically support a wide array of insects and
other macro- invertebrates. In turn, these benthic communities are the primary food source
for many species of fish. The combination of habitat degradation and increased pollution
can cause many sensitive species to disappear.
As mentioned, population increases lead to an increase in the volume of wastewater,
which needs to be treated and then discharged by wastewater treatment plants. Also
industries tend to be located in and around densely populated areas of less developed
countries, and in Africa in particular – where though, industrial base is minimal. Often
by-products from the manufacturing processes are discharged into adjacent waterways.
These direct discharges of effluent into waterways are commonly referred to as point
sources. During the first half of the twentieth century, these were considered the primary
source of water quality problems (Novotny and Olem, 1994).
Therefore, most of the initial government efforts to control water pollution, focused on
regulating the content and volume of point source discharges. During the 1970’s and
80’s, as the importance of controlling the many diffuse source of pollution becomes more
apparent government efforts expanded to also include regulatory and incentive
programmes to address non-point sources of pollution.
4.1 THE STUDY AREA: Kumasi Metropolitan Area
4.1.1 Area history
A relatively young city, Kumasi was founded in the early 19th century by King Osei Tutu
I. The king named the city after the Kum tree, which he planted as a symbol of victory for
the Ashanti Empire over the British. The Ashanti Region has been independent since
1875 even though Ghana itself only declared independence in 1957. The Ashanti
Kingdom is reputed to be the richest kingdom on Africa’s West Coast. The king resides
in Kumasi, and his home, the Manhyia Palace is one of the city’s most spectacular sights.
Legend has it that a golden stool in the palace descended from heaven, and that near the
palace grounds a copper sword was said to have been driven into the ground by an
ancient priest, and no one has been able to remove it by any means.
By virtue of its geographical position and of its road connections, Kumasi constitutes
probably the most important commercial center not only in the country but in West
Africa as a whole (see figures 4.1and 4.2); its large markets in fact constitutes the point of
arrival and departure of goods produced locally as well as in neighbouring countries
(Corubolo and Mattingly, 1999)
Trade, commerce, and farming, among others are the leading industries in Kumasi. In
addition, its region boasts of rich cultural heritage particularly evident in smaller
surrounding towns. Other riches abound, with wealth derived from substantial gold
deposits and agricultural products. Cocoa and high-quality hardwoods are the major
exports. 3
4.1.2 Location and Size:
Kumasi, located 300 kilometers Northwest of Accra is the second largest city of Ghana.
The metropolitan area covers an area of 245 square kilometers as a result of the
expansion from the previous area of 150 square kilometers as shown in figure 4.5.
Kumasi has been the cross roads between the northern and the southern sectors of the
country, since its establishment as the heart of the Ashanti Empire around the turn of the
eighteenth century (Salifu, 1997).
Generally, the Metropolitan area is located at more or less the central part of the Ashanti
region (see fig 4.3). It lies within latitudes 6o 38´ north and 6o 45´ north and longitudes
1o ´41´05´´ west and 1o 32´ west. It is bounded on the north by the Kwabre districts and on
the South by Bosomtwe-Kwanwoma district. On the West and the East, Ejisu-Juaben
district and the Atwima districts bound KMA respectively. In relation to its fast physical
and demographic growth as well as to the expansion of its role within the region, Kumasi
is increasingly being considered as an entity extending beyond the administrative
boundaries of the KMA to incorporate also the four neighbouring districts aforementioned. These five districts constitute the Greater Kumasi City Region (GKCR), to
Available at www.charmeck.org/Developments/Sister+Cities/Sister+Cities/Kumasi,+Ghana.htm
Figure 4.1: Map of West Africa showing Ghana along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea4
Figure 4.2: map of Ghana showing the major cities
Available at www.siteatlas.com/Maps/705.htm
Figure 4.3: Map of Ashanti Region, with the arrow showing KMA
which, however, does not correspond any official administrative body (Corubolo and
Mattingly, 1999).
4.1.3 Geological Setting
The Kumasi Metropolis is characterized by two main geological formations. One of
which belongs to the lower Birimian System of metamorphosed sediments and are of PreCambrian origin. The other is a slightly later series of acid intrusive rocks.
The latter consists of variably textural granitic rocks, which may be cut by pegmatites;
whilst the former is made up predominantly of phyllitic schists, phyllites and
metagreywackes (Gogo, 1990). Accordingly, Gogo found out that the granites, that may
be cut by muscovite-rich or biotite-rich occur in large batholiths and as small masses that
have usually intruded the lower Birimian sediments. The biotite-rich muscovite granites
of Kumasi are foliated though not markedly in places. However, due to the variations in
intensity of metamorphism in these granitic rocks, their texture and composition range
from those of typical granites to granitic gneiss (Gogo, 1990).
4.1.4 Topography and Climate
The general topography of Kumasi metropolitan area is undulating with gentle slopes,
commonly of 5o to 15o . Kumasi itself lies on top of a local watershed at approximately
282 m high (Nsiah-Gyabaah, 2000), but altitudes in the peri- urban interface around
Kumasi vary from 250 to 300 meters (Holland et al, 1996a).
The granitic areas are slightly hilly and the interfluves ridges are flat topped with varying
widths. The landform is an advanced dissection of a tertiary erosion surfaces (Holland et
al, 1996a).
Kumasi lies within the moist semi- humid climatic zone of the country. It experiences two
rainfall maxima annually with the annual mean rainfall of about 1345mm. The first rainy
season is from mid-March to early July, and the Second season begins from late August
to October. The periods between November to early March are much drier throughout the
year (see fig 4.4 below and appendix 1 for complete rainfall values).
Average Monthly rainfall distribution graph for Kumasi
Average values (mm)
Figure 4.4: Average monthly rainfall distribution for Kumasi from 1985 to 1998.
Source: Ghana Meteorological Service, Kumasi Branch
The mean annual temperature is about 28o C with average monthly temperatures varying
from 24o C to 33o C. Humidity varies from about 50 percent in the dry season to about 76
percent at the end of the main wet season.
The vegetation of Kumasi has been characterized under the moist semi-deciduous forest
zone of the country affirming the fact that it occurs within wet semi-equatorial climatic
region (Dickson and Benneh, 1988). But due to rapid increases in population and the
consequent urbanization, very little of the original forest remains.
4.1.5 Soil Resources
According to Holland et al (1996a), the soils in the Kumasi metropolis belong to Forest
Ochrosol great group, though formerly high in organic matter, intensive agriculture has
led to many areas now being low in organic matter. Observations made by Holland et al
with regards to the soil’s characteristics are as follows:
1. That the macro- nutrients are very low and micro- nutrients are deficient in
some areas
2. Clay minerals are predominantly kaolin so CEC is very low
3. Before intensive over-cultivation erosion, soil physical properties are
favourable to crop growth but erosion is severe in some areas and physical
properties are now poor
4. Structure of the soil becomes weak when organic matter is reduced
5. Seasonal waterlogging occurs in many valley bottoms with the soil becoming
hard and structureless when dry
6. Erosion of topsoil is evident in some areas and can have a large effect on soil
A survey made by CEDAR (1999) in some part of the peri-urban areas of Kumasi reveal
that soils in the areas are developed on granite or phyllites. The soils on the granites are
quite acidic but those on the phyllites are less acidic. The dominant textures are sandy
loams. Soil classes are: Ferric Acrisols (most common), Haplic Acrisols, Eutric Gleysols,
Gleyic Arenosols and Gleyic Cambisols.
Nitrogen and organic matter content tend to be moderate to high, at least when they are
newly cultivated after fallow. However the soils are often seriously deficient in
phosphorous and potassium.
4.1.6 Geohydrology and Drainage
The Metropolis is located within Pra basin (Dickson et al, 1988). It is drained by a
relatively dense network of streams whose natural drainage runs generally from north to
south, and some of which include the Daban, Subin, Aboabo, Wiwi and Santang streams,
exhibiting some dendritic patterns and stemming out of the Sisa, Oda, Sokoban and the
Owabi rivers, whose valleys are flat-bottomed (Dickson et al, 1988). These converge into
the Sisa, which flows into the Oda approximately 9 kilometers south of Kumasi. A small
portion of the North West to the city, where a vehicle repair area in Kumasi is located,
drains to the northwest into the catchment of the Owabi dam and thence into the Ofin
River (See Figure 4.6) (Cornish et al., 1999).
The Birimian rocks are generally strongly foliated and jointed, and where they outcrop or
lie near the surface, considerable water may percolate through the joints, fractures or
other partings (Kesse, 1985). Implying that the granitic rocks associated with the
Birimian rocks are not inherently permeable but have secondary permeability. Thus the
porosity developed as a result of jointing, fracturing and weathering contributed to the
relatively average higher yields of groundwater found in wells within the Kumasi granitic
batholiths (Kesse, 1985).
Figure 4.5: Map of KMA showing Old and New boundaries
New boundary
Old boundary
R. Sisa
R. Wiwi
R Subin
R. Daban (5km)
R. Sisa
R. Oda
Some peri- urban villages
Adwaden (18km)
R. Oda
Ofoase Kokoben (32km)
Figure 4.6: Schematic map showing some major drainages of KMA (See Appendix 4)
5.1 Socio-Economic Profile in KMA
This section presents a profile of the Kumasi Metropolitan Area. The objective of this is
to provide a general picture about the trends that are found in the metropolis. The
information herein presented is based on documents from the socio-economic survey
found in various literatures pertaining to the KMA. In particular it is aimed at
establishing factors that have contributed to the urban growth and urbanization of the
5.1.1 Population and Housing:
As mentioned earlier on, Kumasi is one of the five larger cities in Ghana, ranking next to
the capital city – Accra. The urban area owed its development not as a result of industrial
set up but mainly as a result of both formal and informal commercial activities and as an
administrative region of the powerful Ashanti Kingdom, which then seeks to facilitate the
extraction of commodities such as gold, timber and other natural resources.
The population of Kumasi metropolis was estimated in 1970 to be 346,336. This was
increased to 469,628 in 1984 according to national population census, with an annual
growth rate of 2.5 percent (GSS, 1984). From this period however, there has not been any
national census programme, presenting a dearth of information in the area as far as
population statistics is concerned, until in 2000 when national population census was
undertaken. However, the metropolis has experienced a rapid urban population growth in
recent years.
According to 2000 population census, the population of Kumasi metropolitan area was
estimated to be 1,170,270 suggesting an annual growth rate over the intercensal period of
4.7 percent (Simon et al, 2001). The future growth of the urban population will
undoubtedly be on the increase given this growth rate. Using this rate (on the assumption
of higher estimates), the population of the metropolis is projected to increase to about
1,470,000 in 2005 and about 1,850,000 in 2010. 5
The significance of this growth on the natural resource demand and utilization is of
utmost importance. It is observed that urban sprawl of Kumasi now extends as much as
30 kilometers from the old center of the region, as shown in figure 5.1 below. The
obvious negative implications will be the pressure on the land and other natural capital
overexploitation and degradations.
Even though a detailed age structure of the KMA is not available, it is assumed that it
will not differ from the national population age structure. It is therefore here assumed that
children under 15 years of age constitute about 43 percent as a consequence of
improvement in general health care.
Based on own calculations.
Figure 5.1: Map of KMA showing some of its periurban villages
Outer limits of
Urban Kumasi
Some peri-urban
Villages of KMA
Source: Kasanga (1998)
The elderly aged 65 years or more, form about 3.4 percent leaving the active and the
economic age group with a share of 53 percent. The dependency ratio in this case could
be higher, though may comparatively be a slightly lower than the national average,
assuming that general fertility and mortality characteristics of urban centers are lower
than the national average.
In Kumasi metropolis, females form about 583,258 as compared to 587,012 figures for
males. With this relative equal parity stratum of male to female ratios, the fertility rate
should be expected to increase if some socio-economic factors such as education and
employment status are to be held constant, and even that increases should be expected
due to the socio-cultural perceptions of most Ghanaian settings, where having children is
a prestige and privilege.
From table 5.1 below, the total number of houses in the metropolis is about 67400 with a
household figure of about 232,000. A household in this context, as in the Ghanaian
setting means a group of people or individuals that live and eat from ‘the same pot’
(Robertson, 1984). It must be noted that in the Ghanaian context individuals forming a
household may not necessarily be living under the same house or roof, but then the sense
of belongingness always tend to bring ‘families’ together during meal times. It is reported
that the annual rate of formation of new household is about 2.6 percent 6 , and this could
give a projected household figure of about 263,375 in the year 2005 and about 535,700 in
2010. The average size of each househo ld is about 5.1 (Table 5.1). See appendix 2 for
complete presentation of major urban areas of the Ashanti region of which KMA is part.
Table 5.1: Population of Kumasi Metropolitan Area from 1970 to 2000
Source: Ghana Statistical Service (2000 Census)
Asiedu (2001) noted that household housing needs are expected to rise considerably in
the future alongside rapid increases in population due primarily to in- migration. He
further expressed the fact that the cost of housing provision is also expected to undergo
considerable increases of similar magnitude. Against this background the expected
increases in housing stock as forecast would be grossly inadequate in meeting the needs
of the people.
In fact, the emphasis here is laid to indicate the fact that the growth in the urban
population has influenced the growth in the peri- urban population. For example, a survey
carried out by Kasanga (1998) on some eight peri- urban areas of the Kumasi metropolis
reveal that virtually all those areas have experienced net growth between 1984 and 1996.
And all except one of these areas – located some 24 kilometers from the city center expanded at higher rates than at the national population growth estimated at some 3
percent per annum, suggesting that they are net recipients of population (Kasanga, 1998),
(See Table 5.2 below).
Table 5.2: Population growth in selected peri- urban
villages around KMA
Distance (Km)
From Kumasi
Annual growth
Rate (1996)
Source: Kasanga (1998)
Similarly, the survey conducted by Adam et al (1999) comprised six villages located
between 8 and 30 kilometers of the Kumasi city center, of which only two are located on
a main tarred road. Data for these also suggest that four or five of these villages
Available at www.cityofws.org/development/
experienced net growth between 1984 and 1997, while one or possibly two had
decreases, which they attributed to out- migration which exceeded in- migration.
In- migrants to these villages came mainly from the north of the country. ´´While inmigration has been either for farming or due to easy commuting access to the city, outmigration has in most cases been to the city (or perhaps to one of the settlements closer to
the city) to seek for or engage in urban occupation´´ (Brook and Davila, 2000).
According to Kasanga (1998) the new comers are attracted to the peri- urban areas closer
to the city partly due to the higher costs of housing in Kumasi urban center. Housing
rental in urban centers tend to be expensive for the poor, who often live in over-crowded
conditions in large compounds accommodating several households and only the betteroff can build and own detached villas, both in town and its surrounding areas (Tipple,
A substantial number among poor owners and renters use their dwelling for generating
income from a range of activities including food production, manufacturing, shops, and
services, such as hairdressing and day care centers (Sinai, 1998). These commercial
ventures by some owners might have contributed to the unaffordability of
accommodation in urban centers.
Anecdotal evidence by Holland et al (1996a) noted that many of the new villas being
built in and around Kumasi belong to strangers rather than local villagers.
5.1.2 Income and Poverty Levels
The information on income levels of the populace in KMA is basically not existent
enough for generalization to be made, even though it is believed that income of most of
the residents are not more than 350,000 Cedis per month (approx $50). Generally, Ghana
could be categorized into three groups: Accra, other urban areas and the rural areas, as far
as living standards are concern (Devas and Korboe, 2000). However, some have the view
that the position of the poor in the country has deteriorated since 1992 (Abugre, and
Holland, 1998), with the proportion below the upper poverty line increasing to more than
37 percent in 1997 for Ghana as a whole (Devas et al, 2000).
With regards to Kumasi, Abugre et al (1998) identified a number of indicators of
increased poverty and vulnerability compared to a decade ago. These include:
1. Visible evidence of growing number of working children and homelessness
2. Increased number of young people unable to find formal or semi- formal sector
3. Increased room occupancy rates
4. Growing numbers of refugees sleeping in open spaces
5. Older women without children or husbands
6. Teenage girls carrying children and doing strenuous work, and
7. Ethnic Asantes living in old and dilapidated traditional housing
5.1.3 Migration
Due to its location, as not only in a central part of the Ashanti region, but also
strategically located in the central part of the country, Kumasi has been the locus to the
major emigrational processes within the country and West Africa generally (White et al.,
2002). Devas and Korboe (2000) presented the fact that Kumasi has long been regarded
as a commercial capital of Ghana. These factors among others have made it very
attractive to migrants of diverse origins.
Several years of structural adjustment and market-oriented shifts in the economy
(apparently) fostered local economic growth and contributed to a rural- urban migratory
flow, particularly from the northern regions of the country (White et al., 2002). In
addition, the relative peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the Kumasi Metropolitan Area
has also attracted enormous victims of war from the north to the area, thus contributing to
the rapid urban growth in Kumasi.
Even though no available data on the contribution of migration to the urban growth of the
city, estimates show that migration from the regions and from the poorer and conflict
prone northern regions have added more than a quarter of a million persons to the city’s
population (Andreasen et al., n.d.) 7 , and that the role of migration in the city’s population
is noteworthy with the in- migration constituting the single largest factor for population
increases (Asiedu, 2001).
According to the survey conducted by White et al, as regard to the migrant composition
in some part of the Kumasi Metropolitan Area, observed that about 30 percent of the
settlers were born elsewhere in the Ashanti Region and almost about 33 percent were
born in the northern (including northern regions outside Ghana) and particularly
prominent places of origin are the Upper East and Upper West Regions of Ghana, two
areas in the northern tier of the Republic which border Burkina Faso (White et al, 2002).
Using their measure of household socio-economic status base on an index of household
possessions, White et al found that migrants, especially the women, live in more modest
circumstances than urban natives. In addition, migrants had experienced the least
education – over two-thirds had no schooling, whereas about two-thirds of urban native
women had exposure to primary or secondary education, and the same trend is evident in
job status (ibid).
It could therefore be noted that the significance of migration in the study area, amid
paucity of hard data, cannot be overlooked. Migrants, aside contributing to the urban
population growth by themselves, they also contribute to increase in total urban
population through high fertility rates as opposed to native urban residents, even though,
long period of urban residency changes or modifies this trend. Another issue worth
raising herein is that whether the migration processes contributes to the development of
the Kumasi City in economic terms. In other words, are the migrations to the study area
fovourable for economic development? These issues need a thorough investigation for
future decision-making as far as planning and policy measures are concerned.
Available at www.karch.dk/udgivelser/publicationer/content/88/andreasen_uk.pdf
5.1.4 Employment status
The informal sector has been the major source of living for most of the households in
Kumasi, with the surrounding areas having agricultural base sources of livelihood.
Most urban economies of the developing countries have been described as being dualistic
in nature. This dual economy has been given names which include ‘the upper economic
circuit’ and the ‘lower economic circuit’ (Barke et al, 1986), however, the most
commonly known of this designation has been the ‘formal’ and the ‘informal’ sectors.
Barke et al explained the former as consisting of large-scale us ually foreign-owned
enterprises, financed by overseas or international capital and using technology developed
Its products cater for the ‘elite’ market. Also involved in this category is the government.
Many Third World governments invest a la rge proportion of their funds in economic
enterprises, either in basic industries or in the provision of infrastructure. Thus the state
itself becomes a significant source of employment, particularly for the ‘elite’ with
sufficient education or influence to compete for such jobs (Barke et al., 1986)
The informal sector however, as explained by Barke et al, is predominantly small in
scale, and financed by small amounts of local capital. These are indigenously owned and
often based on the family and kinship network. Technology is limited and the enterprise
is likely to be labour intensive. These two systems of economy coexist in Ghana as a
whole and in Kumasi in particular - as is the case in most urban areas of other Third
World counties. They interact with each other in the areas of demand, production,
distribution and consumption in an economy (King and Dinye, 2002).
With regard to the formal sector, not much is available to the author, though it is
observed that the city of Kumasi is now the budding industrial center with formal
industries in timber, food processing (including breweries) and soap manufacturing, soft
drink bottlers etc (Salifu, 1997). Table 5.3 below shows some industries and their
employment profile.
Table 5.3: Some industries and their employment profile
Abattoir Breweries Sawmills Latex mattress Soft drink
Manufacturing Bottlers
Employees 90
Source (modified): Simon, Poku & Nsiah-Gyabaah (2001)
The table therefore suggests that the informal sector forms the mainstay of the population
of Kumasi, and therefore much of the attention would be dwelled in this sector in this
King et al, quoting Hart (1973) defined the concept of the informal economy in Ghana in
the mid-1970s when the economy started experiencing a downturn in the output of
industrial goods from the modern formal sector. A major area of concern in the urban
development processes at the time was the problem of adequately providing for the
employment needs of the mass of the people (Hart, 1973). This has come about as a result
of over-urbanization - as the rate of job creation in the formal sector has been relatively
slow in relation to the rate of growth of job seekers in the urban centers, and although this
trend has become a global feature, the informal sector is nonetheless a dominant feature
in developing countries globally (King et al, 2002).
According to the 1970 national census, the labour force in Kumasi stood at 54 percent,
and was employed 8 mainly in the informal sector (Government of Ghana, 1972). The
employment figure of the sector in Kumasi increased to about 65 percent of the labour
force in 1990 as a result of the expulsion of about one million Ghanaians from Nigeria
and other countries in 1983 (King et al., 2002.). It was estimated that in 2001, between 70
and 75 percent of the labour force in the Kumasi Metropolis were employed in this sector
of the local economy (Adarkwa and Post, 2001).
A major contributory factor, among others, is the impact of the structural adjustment
programmes (SAPs) in Ghana. There is no doubt that this sector continues to grow even
at the local level as population increases. Within the central business district (CBD) of
Kumasi Metropolis and in the Subin Sub- metro of Kumasi, it was estimated that 81
percent of the population is engaged in the informal economy (King et al., 2002), thus,
providing a livelihood for the ever- increasing urban population of Kumasi.
The afore mentioned presents an account of the significant role the informal sector plays
in the Kumasi Metropolitan economy, whose dominance in the region is expected to
continue into the year 2020 and beyond (ibid). This is due to the emphasis placed on the
private sector- led economy and the adjustment programmes being pursued in the country
by the government to give a boost to the private sector (Adarkwa and Post, 2001).
It must also be noted that, the significance of the informal sector is not only limited to the
generation of employment alone in the area but also generates enormous revenue for the
local and central governments. For example, in 1985 the KMA earned GHC61 million
from the informal sector out of total revenue of GHC105 million earned, accounting for
over 61 percent (Boapeah and Osei- Adu, 1987). This revenue generated came from
sources including fees, rates, licenses and fines. The potential of revenue generation of
the informal sector has been estimated at about 60 percent of total revenue earned by
KMA, including the additional revenues stemming from the District Assembly’s
Common Fund (DACF) that was established in 1992. In 2001 alone, about 50.5 percent
of KMA’s revenue came from internal sources of which the contribution of the informal
sector was a little over 80 percent (King et al, 2002) Forms of informal economic activities
The largest sub-sector in the informal economy in Kumasi is commerce (petty trade),
accounting for about 60 percent of total employment of the informal economy, this is
followed by petty commodity production, accounting for about 35 percent with 5 percent
The use of the word ‘employment’ in the informal sector should not be construed from the Eurocentric
view of the meaning of the term. In most developing countries, the term could be used to connote being
working under somebody who runs an informal sort of economic activities.
accounting for urban and peri-urban agriculture (King et al., 2002). This apparently less
percentage of the urban and peri- urban agriculture may be due to the increasing
absorption of farmers and their relatives into the petty trade and the petty commodity
production. Urban agriculture here refers to farming activities within the Kumasi
Metropolitan Area, while peri- urban agriculture connotes the agricultural activities in the
areas between the urban area and a circle with a radius of 40 kilometers from the city
center (Blake and Kasanga, 1997).
The petty commodity production in the metropolis relates to four basic economic
activities, these are the craft, artisan, processing, and service enterprises (ibid). Craft
enterprises produce goods of artistic value. These include Kente weaving, woodcarving,
cane weaving, jewellery, pottering/ceramics, and goldsmithing. These artisans prefer to
locate along major traffic routes in the city.
Artisan enterprises produce goods of utilitarian value. There are many more of these than
craft enterprises. These include tailoring and hairdressing, carpentry, leather, bakery and
many others. Processing enterprises are similar to the artisan enterprises on account of the
utilitarian value of their products but quite distinct with regard to their raw material
inputs and final products. They include oil extraction (palm, coconut, and groundnut),
maize and rice milling, cassava processing, ‘kenkey’ making, among others. Service
enterprises are those that produce personal, community, and domestic services. They
include vehicle, watch, radio and television repairs, pottering, cooked food selling,
hairdressing, painting, plumbing, vulcanizing and transportation.
Another common activity found on the street whose potential impacts on the water
resources needs to be investigated is the sale of water in sachets which is done by street
children (King et al, 2002). Urban agriculture
The farming systems in the urban areas of Kumasi predominantly include:
Cattle production
Sheep and goat production
Pig production
Small animal, such as grasscutters and snails production
Aquaculture (fish farming)
Backyard crop production, and
Fuelwood gathering and use
The socio-economic characteristics of the urban natural resource managers (owners,
farmers, and gatherers) cut across wider spectra depending on the type of natural
resource. On the one side of the spectrum is associated with the poor fuelwood gatherers
who have little or no capital to outlay and consequently have low returns yet are often
entirely dependent on the activity for their livelihoods, while on the other side is involved
with the rich large-scale poultry farmers and some of the cattle owners, who may invest
significant capital and reap high returns, but for whom the activity is secondary to an
established off farm business or occupation (Nsiah-Gyabaah, 2000). Others, however,
engage in backyard crop production partly as a hobby and take the form of a traditional
rainfed food crops such as plantains, cassava and cocoyams (ibid).
The cattle, sheep, goats and pigs kept within the metropolis tend to be concentrated
largely in certain areas such as immigrant settlements, and associated with particular
ethnic groups. For example, mostly northern Ghanaian in- migrants rear cattle, sheep and
goats whilst the pigs are reared by the Akan indigenes (ibid) Peri-urban agriculture in Kumasi
On account of the peri-urban area, the main occupation is characterized by a prevailing
smallholder informal commercial and subsistence peri- urban irrigation and non- irrigation
agriculture. While non- irrigation farming is seasonal depending on the rainy seasons, the
irrigated agriculture is practiced all year round. A smallholder as defined by Cornish et al
(1999) is the farmer practicing a mix of commercial and subsistence production where
the family provides the majority of labour and the farm provides the principal source of
income. A smallholder will often derive his/her livelihood from an irrigated holding of
less than 2 ha but holdings vary in size and may be as large as 5 ha or more. According to
Nsiah-Gyabaah (2000) over 90 percent of the peri- urban settlers cultivate an area of less
than 2 ha in Kumasi Metropolis. The formal irrigation agriculture in the peri- urban areas
is virtually non-existent.
Although the majority of inhabitants still retain some connections with farming there is
an evidence of decline with the urbanization of the villages. However, an estimated area
of about 12,000 ha under dry-season vegetable farming around Kumasi is cultivated by
over more than 15,000 farmers in the peri- urban areas with a substantial number of
women taking the lion’s share of the peri- urban labour force (see table 5.4 below). It will
be observed in the table that on the average, women make up the bulk of the farming
operations in the peri- urban agriculture, attributed to the fact that the men are leaving to
seek for jobs in the urban areas.
Table 5.4 Share of labour in agriculture in selected peri- urban areas
around Kumasi, 1970-1996
Village (approximate
Distance to Kumasi Center
Akokoamang (13km)
Asaago (12km)
Atasomanso (7km)
Behenease (24 km)
Emena (13 km)
Esereso (13km)
Maase (13km)
Okyerekrom (15km)
Source: Kasanga (1998)
The most commonly irrigated crops are tomato, garden egg and okra. Other irrigated
vegetables include hot pepper, sweet pepper, cabbage, lettuce and cucumber (Cornish et
al., 1999).
The mode of operation is such that usually seedbeds and fields are established in
bottomlands, along city drains and other water bodies. A few of these farmers dig wells at
sites where water table is high. Irrigation is usually done by sprinkling with watering
cans, however, the water used is untreated. Besides water, production is also input
intensive with respect to nutrients and pesticides,
Currently the farming systems in peri- urban Kumasi consist of varying mixes of
traditional and introduced elements. These include:
1. Temporary intercropped bush fallow food crop
2. Permanent intercropping
3. Monocrop vegetables, with irrigation in the dry season
4. Specialized valley-bottom cropping, e.g. sugarcane, taro, green maize etc.
5. Backyard farms (mostly banana, plantain, cassava and vegetables)
6. Livestocks and fish farming (Nsiah-Gyabaah, 2001)
Revenue generation from irrigation has been estimated from farm survey to be as high as
US $6 million (US $500/ha/year) with profits of at least US $4 million (Cornish et al.,
2000). Thus, the peri- urban agriculture not only supports urban die ts but also gives
employment to producers and sellers and contributes to Kumasi’s economy.
5.1.5 Spatial organization of informal economic activities
Informal economic activities in the KMA occupy extensively unorganized large areas.
However, their potent ial for agglomeration/cluster is overriding. Major clusters of
activities carried out by very large numbers of small-sized enterprises, usually ranging
between one and five persons and comprising enterprises of similar activity can be found
in petty commodity production and petty commerce (King et al, 2002). They include:
Market trade in markets in the city
Vehicle repair centers at Suame Magazine and Asafo
Woodwork center at Anloga
Street activities such as cooked food vending along the radial routes,
especially the portion within the ring road and the city at Adum, and
5. Wood carving at Ehwiaa, along the Mampong road.
Suame Magazine located at the north-western part of KMA officially extends over an
area of about 80 acres (Gerards et al, 1998). It has, however, spilled out of its
overcrowded area and small workshops and now stretches for about one kilometer of the
Suame Extension road and its environs. This area attracts customers from within and
outside the country. The value of Suame Magazine as a vehicle service center lies in the
existence of linkages and working relationships between firms, and the inter-dependence
between highly specialized activities. In 1992, it was estimated that the number of people
at Suame Magazine engaged in activities that were not vehicle related, such as food
sellers and hawkers, was about 40,000 (Institute of African Studies, 1992), with about
9,000 employed directly in vehicle repairs. The land within which this repair site is
located drains the northwestern part of the KMA, as mentioned earlier. Most of the dirty
oil spills and the waste generated as a result of the vehicle repairs and the food sellers are
therefore drained into the streams draining these sites.
The woodwork center at Anloga is located off the main Kumasi-Accra road. The
activities in the area far exceed its capacity, both in terms of geographical space and
infrastructure. City authorities have identified the wood center as a notorious point of
environmental pollution (King et al, 2002). The environment near the work center at
Anloga is constantly suffering air pollution from sawdust while the nearby river, which is
almost dead has become the dumping ground for sawdust.
At the city or the CBD, that is Adum; petty commercial activities line the streets, which is
also a spill over from the Kumasi Central Market, the largest market in Ghana and
perhaps West Africa (King, 1999; Clark, 1994). The street operators who run these
activities include sellers who make use of blankets, plastic sheets, verandahs in front of
shops, table tops, stalls, walls, wooden racks and those who roam about. In the process,
these vendors use space that was originally intended for pedestrians (See figures 5.2 and
5.3 below).
Figures 5.2 and 5.3: Pic tures showing some spatial organization as well as the hustle and
bustle of informal economic activities in the CBD.
Goods that are sold along these streets include fabrics, food items, footwear, bags and
many others. These activities pose impediments to free traffic circulation and pedestrian
movement and, hence, danger to human life.
With regard to petty trading, especially in the case of hawkers, three categories of
utilization of space are observed in the Metropolis (Gerards et al, 1998), namely:
1. The more or less sedentary who have a fixed place, which could be a stall,
table, verandah and until recently, the bear floor
2. Those who are mobile with their goods throughout the city center (only the
CBD), and
3. Those who move from one area to another throughout the city but far out of
the CBD in search of customers
The spatial movement of petty traders is carried out irrespective of the type of commodity
sold. The movement of the traders is often facilitated through the use of trucks, itinerant
carriers, or motorized transport. The operators are usually either self- employed or
‘middlemen’ who operate as freelances for wholesalers or manufacturers, selling their
goods for profit.
The sanitary significance of these kind of commercial activities is the way the se operators
manage their generated solid and liquid wastes, especially when the KMA has no
effective wastes management measures at vantage points within the Metropolis. In effect,
these vendors would be tempted to rampantly dispose of these wastes, which may directly
or indirectly find their way into the nearest drainage passages in the metropolis. Another
significance of the above as mentioned in the introductory part goes to underpin the pull
factor that is at play to draw migrants from the most part of the country, and hence
contributing to the population growth.
5.1.6 Land Tenure and Ownership
The underlying ownership of land in KMA is divided between the original settler families
and the stool (Symbol of authority of the chief). Under the traditional land tenure system
indigenous inhabitants are allocated land to farm by their family head. They (in an ideal
situation) have usufructory rights to land rather than individual ownership rights, and
cannot sell the land outright, but this situation is gradua lly changing as commercial
vending of lands by chiefs and elders is on the increase and this situation is ensuing in
frequent land litigations in most villages in KMA. Strangers can therefore gain access to
land through approaching the chiefs and arranging with him to lease land for farming or
to buy land for housing (McGregor, Thomson and Simon, 2000).
5.1.7 Land use in Kumasi Metropolis
The city of Kumasi was once envisaged as the ‘Garden City’ of West Africa, with lowdensity suburbs surrounding the central hub. Rapid urbanization, for the most part
unchecked by strategic planning considerations, has rendered the present land use pattern
far more complex (Blake et al, 1997). Due to the land tenure system operating in Ghana,
the traditional chiefs have become the major driving force behind land use changes, as
more land are sold out to individuals for residential development (ibid). The bureaucratic
power structure through which an individual must pass to put up a residence in KMA is
such that land must necessarily be acquired from the chiefs but must however be certified
by official authorities responsible for land developments. This situation should have
created a complementary responsibility where one could not operate without the other as
depicted in the sketches 1 and 2 below, where C represents chiefs and O represents the
officials responsible for land developments. An individual must therefore fall under CO
to be able to build a house.
But due to fear of litigations and other reasons, this bureaucracy is being flouted (sketch
2) and individuals are putting up buildings on lands without being granted right by
officials to do so, creating a situation where buildings are being put up long before it is
certified by the officials.
Although the predominant land use in KMA in the past decades was agricultural, land is
quickly being taken over by residential settlements as the city grows and physically
expands probably on a daily basis. Commerce frequently exists scattered in most part of
residential development. In addition, there are several commercial centers mostly
concentrated within the KMA.
With little industrial development and most commercial activities of informal nature, it
could therefore be said that residentia l activities is taking over the agricultural lands.
(Corubolo et al, 1999) characterized the peri-urban interface of KMA as that of an
increasing number of people residing in the peri- urban interface, but commuting on a
daily basis to Kumasi to work. Associated with this rapid influx of people in the periurban areas are the processes of land conversion from non- urban to urban uses. The
impact of the land conversion processes as the result of population growth is immense,
manifesting itself, among others, through environmental, economic and social effects.
6.1 Sanitation and Water Resources in KMA
6.1.1 Consumption and waste generation
A consumption survey carried out by Leitzinger (2000) in KMA, which covers about 440
people in 91 households and 215 people for street food revealed that the ‘average’ person
consumes annually about 766 kilograms of food (at home and as street food) without
consideration of food consumed from their own production: 2.1 kilograms per head per
day largely consisting of ‘fufu’ – a local dish made up of cassava, plantain, meat/fish,
garden eggs etc., which is the major and if possible the daily dish in the region.
While backyards garden contribute about 5 percent to urban food consumption (KNRMP,
1999), a total of 14 percent of urban agriculture is estimated to contribute to the urban
food consumption in KMA, with the peri- urban agriculture contributing about 66 percent
with the rest (20 percent) coming from the rural areas (Leitzinger, 2000).
Kumasi households produce in total about 255,000 tonnes of solid wastes per year,
Kumasi market produces about 53,000 tonnes per year. While the market waste is
collected on a daily basis, the current capacity of the Waste Management Department
(WMD) can maximally address about 110,000 tonnes of household waste (ibid), thus the
rest of the unaddressed waste forming about 57 percent ends up being ‘flashed’ away by
probably urban runoff into nearby streams. The main wastes generated in KMA as in
many other developing countries, include:
Municipal, domestic and commercial wastes
‘Black soil’ (material decomposed in situ at dump sites
Night soil
Market and hotel wastes
Slaughterhouse wastes
Poultry manure
Breweries wastes, and
Food processing wastes (palm oil by-products, cassava peels and cocoa shell)
(Harris and Smith, 1998)
Salifu (2001) found that the bulk of domestic refuse collection (>90 percent) in the
residential settlements in KMA is by communal container systems with other sources of
refuse not catered for. Payment for refuse collection is non-existent, as it has been
difficult to collect charges directly for the community-based collection system. House-tohouse collection covers only 400 houses out of a potential of 12,000.
6.1.2 Sanitation
Akuffo (1998) noted that the development of basic infrastuctural services such as water
supply, sewerage and other sanitation facilities in many developing countries, including
Ghana, lags behind urban growth. This creates problems for the maintenance of safe
minimum standards of environmental quality in the urban environment.
In Ghana, all districts, municipal and metropolitan assemblies give urban sanitation and
waste management a priority in their management objectives (MLGRD, 1999). However,
their ability to contain the problems of waste management is deteriorating, probably due
to the rising cost for plant and equipment, increasing operation and maintenance costs,
the rapid spatial and population growth of most urban areas with decreasing coverage
levies, as well as increase in levels of waste generated which is confronted by increasing
public demand for improved services (Salifu, 2001).
Similar to these situations, the KMA has sewerage for less than 4 percent of its residents
leaving the sanitation and drainage totally inadequate with pollution and flooding being
serious problems (Salifu and Mumuni, 1998).
Devas and Korboe (2000) noted that only 30 percent of households have satisfactory
sanitation arrangements in their homes while 24 percent use the very unhygienic system
of buckets. Nearly 40 percent of KMA residents depend on public toilets (improved pit
latrines, aqua privies, and pan latrines), for which there are often lengthy queues. In some
suburbs, such as Atonsu, Old Tafo and Kwadaso, there are only few public toilets, each
with 14 squat- holes or less, to serve about 10,000 or more inhabitants (Devas et al, 2000),
and about 6 percent defecate in the bush (Cornish et al, 1999). Indiscriminate disposal of
faecal material in plastic bags or sometimes put into community refuse skips is
commonplace sometimes carried out by residents (ibid).
Kumasi does have a network of public toilets built in the past either by city governments
or by community labour. Most of these were privatized leading to inadequacies in the
sanitation provisions (Devas et al, 2000), which also led to an increase in defecation on
open grounds and waste dumps, which could result in increase pollution and health risks.
Keraita and Drechsel (n.d.) identified that about 90 percent of grey water from urban
households not connected to sewage systems is discharged via streams flowing through
Kumasi. Effluents of the faecal and sewage treatment plants are also discharged into
these streams.
As Kumasi is traditionally a commercial and transport center with one of the largest
markets in West Africa, the industrial sector is not much developed, hence, industrial
wastewater is not significant in quantitative terms (Cornish et al, 1999). However, the
major sources of industrial effluents are the two breweries, a soft drink bottling plant and
a soap factory. Effluent from these industries is discharged into surface watercourses
without pre-treatment. Light industrial activities at the Suame Magazine complex –
draining northwestern part of Kumasi and sawdust mounds at sawmills and Anloga also
generate significant amounts of waste, oil and leachate respectively (Salifu and Mumuni,
6.1.3 Water resources and utilization
As is the case in most parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, water demand far outstrips supply in
Ghana (Karikari, n.d.) 9 . The main sources of water for households are piped supply from
treated water sources; untreated piped water from groundwater sources; shallow
boreholes; wells; and ponds, springs, lakes, rivers and streams.
The sources of water supply to almost all urban communities in Ghana results from rivers
at dams and diversion structures, and most of the surface water has to be treated to meet
health standards. Karikari (n.d.) also observed that water resources could probably serve
all urban needs for the foreseeable future through parallel programmes of development
and conservation in Ghana.
Rural communities in Ghana rely on groundwater, provided that this is available in
sufficient quantities; is reliable throughout the year; and does not require treatment. The
quantity of groundwater is generally good, and groundwater from shallow wells near
streams and springs has always accounted for a large share of the potable-water supply in
rural communities (ibid). Any site with static water level of less than 10 meters is a
possible source of groundwater. The two most common types of wells in Ghana are handdug wells and the drilled wells or boreholes. Whilst the former can serve up to 200
people, the latter, depending on the capacity of the hand-pumps can serve up to 300 or
more people.
The major water company responsible for water supply in Ghana is the Ghana Water
Company (GWC), a parastatal institution under the Ministry of Works and Housing.
CEDAR (1999) states that to characterize the water resources in an area, it is necessary to
define the sources of supply; the quality of water at the sources; the range of uses of the
water; the types and scale of abstraction; and the contamination of the sources, sinks, and
Thus, for the urban areas of KMA, Owabi and the Barekese reservoirs constitute the
major water storage used by GWC to supply water to the urban areas, whose 580 kmlong of piped network serves some 37,000 customers – including industries and
institutions) although shared connections are common (Simon et al, 2001). The major
water resource for this reservoir is the River Owabi.
The river flows through agricultural land close to the village of Maase, upstream of
Kumasi, it then flows through the north-west margins of the city itself where it is joined
by other tributaries from the urban area, as at Atafua (7 km downstream from Maase) - a
rapidly urbanizing agricultural village. The river then flows into the Owabi reservoir,
which is used by GWC to supply Kumasi (McGregor, Thomson and Simon, 2000)
Holland et al (1996a) estimated that about 100x103 m3 of water are required for domestic
purposes in Kumasi itself, and about three-quarters of this can be delivered from the
current sources, i.e., Owabi and Barekese reservoirs, even though in most cases the
Available at: http://web.idrc.ca/en/ev-31158-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
supply is unreliable at the end of the pipe system. The use of Lake Bosomtwe, 28
kilometers from Kumasi has also been suggested.
Even though KMA has lesser industrial base, the water used by some of the identified
industries is enormous. Even though larger fraction of these used waters could be
returned into the stream of water bodies degraded, some of the uses could be
consumptive as in the case of soft drink industries. Table 6.1 gives some water use levels
of some of the industries in KMA.
Table 6.1: Water use levels of some industries in KMA
2 own
? (GWC)
With the
Source (Modified): Simon, Poku & Nsiah-Gyabaah (2001).
However, as presented by CEDAR (1999), the traditional and the most important sources
of drinking water in most villages in the KMA are the springs, streams and rivers. These
are also used fo r washing and most other purposes such as irrigation. In most villages,
which have streams arising within the village boundaries, people collect water from close
to the source, which they believe to be of good quality, as in the village of Esereso and
Sepetimpom (ibid). Some of these streams can become covered with weeds and could
render some form of difficulty of access. For example, as reported by CEDAR, that one
spring in the village of Adagya produces good drinking water, but is very weedy and
infested with snakes.
Likewise, some streams have never been used for water supply, either because the stream
is sacred or because the water is considered unsuitable for use (ibid).
Aside the water utilization by households, the most extensively and perhaps the most
intensive water utilizing activity or sector in the KMA has been the informal irrigation
agriculture (Cornish et al, 2000), they observed, in particular, that small- scale irrigation
of horticultural crops in the dry season is widespread in many of the villages within 40kilometer radius of Kumasi, where perennial rivers provide an assured water supply to
the number of farmers. The scale of farming operations being greater, with the ownership
and a hire of small petrol pumps being commonplace (Cornish et al, 2000).
In addition, use of shallow dug-outs and water from stream pools are almost equally
widespread. Only few farmers, about 3 percent in the urban and the peri- urban areas
depend on water from mains supply of the city. This is so since the piped water must be
paid for. Brook et al (2000) also noted most water for irrigation, especially in the dry
season when stream flows are reduced, is obtained from shallow wells and used for
1. Sole crop vegetable growing
2. Special valley bottom cropping systems (including rice, water coco-yam,
sugar cane etc.)
3. Tree (establishment or dry season irrigation)
4. Backyard farms (even though water from wells, roofs, and piped supply are
sometimes used)
6.1.4 Water quality
The expression of water resource quality entails how the water resources is devoid of and
thus clean from any foreign or external elements that could compromise on its physical,
chemical or bacteriological compositions.
High quantities of these parameters in water will certainly pose health risks when
utilized. The fear for utilization of such waters could create ‘artificial’ shortage or
scarcity of water in a region, even if that region is endowed with water in quantitative
Kumasi is endowed with water resources; however, the often-experienced shortages of
water could be hypothesized to be in qualitative terms, as most of the water resources
(streams, rivers etc) are relatively contaminated. Pollution has been a problem in Kumasi
Metropolitan Area because controls on discharge are difficult to enforce (CEDAR, 1999).
Most rivers are used for washing (people, clothes and vehicles).
The potential water quality problems in and around Kumasi, as was observed by
McGregor et al (2000) include:
1. River pollution in and downstream from Kumasi, and resulting from;
a. Untreated sewage and other domestic waste;
b. Hospital waste;
c. Industrial waste (chemical, heavy metal, oils, sawmill waste, brewing
waste, abattoir waste etc);
d. Urban and rural runoff, including agricultural and chemical residues;
e. Leachate from groundwater entering the rivers.
2. Contamination of boreholes and wells from the polluted rivers and pit latrines
located nearby and/or upslope
3. Waste tipping (unplanned and unregulated) and inadequate management and
mitigation procedures
4. Building operations for urban and peri- urban housing, industrial or
commercial premises.
Keraita and Drechsel (n.d.) noted that households constitute the main source of
wastewater in the KMA; black water from 64 percent of the population ends up in septic
tanks and public toilets. This wastewater is supposed to be collected by trucks and taken
to a faecal treatment plant, which had reached its capacity years ago (Leitzinger and
Adwedaa, 1999). This had led to the direct disposal of raw sewage from most treatment
plants into wetlands and streams, which are used for urban vegetable irrigation
downstream of Kumasi. Aside the household contaminations, most surface water
pollutions result from the activities of both the small and large scale industries which
include: vehicle repairs, breweries, abattoir, tannery, sawmills etc (Holland et al, 1996a).
Table 6.2 below gives some industries and their waste products as surveyed by (Simon et
al, 2001).
Table 6.2: Some selected industries and their waste products
(Yarn dyeing)
Waste product
a) 3,000 l/d of black water contaminated
with reactive and sulphur dyes and hydrogen peroxides
b) <10 kg/d of solid waste
c) Sawdust
d) Smoke from boiler
e) Dye drum
90,000 l/d waste water
10,000 l/d blood
Oils, fat, bones, hooves, hides, horns, tendons etc.
Cleaning chemicals
Spent grain (2878t/yr)
Spent yeast (24.5t/yr)
Kiesegaur (21t/yr)
Broken bottles
Spent grain (72t/wk)
Spent yeast (200hl/wk)
Kiesegaur (300kg/wk)
Broken bottles (1850/yr)
Chimney smoke
Timber offcuts
Wood offcuts
Sawmill (plywood)
Wood offcuts
Chimney smoke
Boiler ash
Crushed pulp
Latex mattress
2,000 l/d of wastewater with chemical solutes
Solid wastes
Foam offcuts/wastes
Chimney smoke
Soft drinks bottlers
264,000 l/d with chemical solutes, especially caustic soda (1%)
Crown corks (3 kg/d)
Broken glass (400 kg/d)
Paper cartons (32 kg/d)
Plastic containers (18 kg)
196 sugar sacks/d
Chimney smoke
Sawmill (Diverse
Sawmill (Lumber,
strips product)
Source: Simon, Poku & Nsiah-Gyabaah (2001).
The activities of these industries are certainly a threat to water resources, as most of them
are concentrated near or relatively closer to some streams and rivers in the vicinity of
their operations, and into which their effluents are discharged directly with little or no
treatment (Simon et al, 2001).
Ghesquiere (1999) carried out a review of studies by some students at the UST on the
quality of most of the streams and rivers passing through Kumasi. The mean values of the
findings are given in the Table 6.3 below (for the complete table refer to appendix 3).
Table 6.3: Mean values of water quality parameters for some streams in KMA
Solid (mg/l)
Total Dissolved
Salts (mg/l)
Oxygen (mg/l)
Demand (mg/l)
Faecal Coliforms/100ml
6.3 x107
1.3 x106
4.2 x104
9 x103
Source: Cornish et al (1999)
Although the studies were done at different times with samples taken from different
locations clear pattern of pollution could be discerned, and the values herein presented
are higher comparatively to the ICMF guidelines for the coliform count in particular.
The Subin River (See fig. 4.6) is the most highly polluted, with very high levels of
suspended solids and faecal coliform (over 60 million per 100ml). The high values of the
pollutants ma y probably be attributed to the fact that the river passes through the densely
populated residential areas of the City as well as through the Kumasi market area where
commercial activities are taken place. This stream also receives raw nightsoil and septage
from some hotels located within its catchments (Cornish et al, 1999).
The Aboabo River is also comparatively polluted largely due to the effluents it gathers
from the large part of northern Kumasi, and this is reflected in relatively high levels of
suspended solids and very high numbers of faecal coliform (ibid). The Sisa shows lower
levels of suspended solids and faecal coliform compared with either the Subin or Aboabo
streams. The Wiwi, located upstream of the City, is the clearest of the rivers draining
Kumasi, due probably to the fact that only a small portion of its catchments is under
urban development (ibid).
The pattern of pollution level of these rivers is such that the pollution is higher in the
more urbanized areas (Subin area), and this will reflect in rivers and streams downstream
of KMA. The higher values of faecal coliform are a result of faecal matter disposal,
which explains the precarious sanitary conditions presented in the previous sections.
Hand-dug wells appeared to be less polluted in the KMA as reported by Owusu (1998).
The table 6.4 below gives some average pollution levels of selected parameters of
sampled hand-dug wells in KMA (Mensah et al, 2001).
Table 6.4: Average values of bacteriological, physico-chemical and heavy metal analysis
of wastewater samples from Kumasi.
Salinity (Cl-1)
Nitrate (mg/l)
BOD (mg/l)
COD (mg/l)
Conductivity (mScm-1)
E. Coli 100ml-l
Coliform 100ml-1
K (mg/l)
Mn (mg/l)
Fe (mg/l)
Al (mg/l)
Na (mg/l)
Pb (mg/l)
Wiwiso near UST
Source: Mensah et al (2001)
The above table also indicates low levels of heavy metals in the sampled waters. This is
also a reflection of the fact that heavy metal analysis in the urban water bodies showed in
general acceptable levels (Cornish et al, 1999), which most likely is due to the low levels
of industrialization in the KMA.
The use of inputs in farming operations could also pose a threat to the surrounding water
bodies. Even though chemical fertilizers and pesticides were rarely used, the increased
population and the rapid urban expansion has led to intensive farming operations, which
require higher input of soil ameliorants, as the natural improvement mechanism provided
by land fallowing is reduced (Nsia h-Gyabaah, 2000). The chemical fertilizers most
commonly used are compound 15(N): 15(P): 15(K) and ammonium sulphate, mainly
applied to vegetables (Harris, 1997). Table 6.5 below presents inputs used as soil
ameliorants in 66 10 peri-urban villages of KMA.
Kumasi has about 77 villages in its peri-urban areas (Cornish et al, 1999)
Table 6.5: Fertilizer inputs in farming operations in some selected peri- urban Kumasi
Number of villages where at least some
Farmers use the input
Chemical fertilizer
Poultry manure
Sheep manure
Cattle manure
Source: Village Characterization Survey in: Nsiah-Gyabaah (2001)
It could be seen from the table that the majority of villages use chemical fertilizers in
their farming operations. Application of these fertilizers and the ir subsequent leaching
into surrounding water bodies by runoffs and other hydrological processes could raise the
nutrient status of the water resources, even though the current nutrient status of the waters
in KMA is found to be generally low (CEDAR, 1999)
In conclusion therefore, the general outlook of the quality of waters in the KMA could be
summarized as follows (Cornish et al, 1999):
1. There is high sediment load in the more urbanized areas and downstream of
2. The electrical conductivity and compounds of nitrogen are higher in these
areas though are low in absolute terms;
3. The nutrient status of the waters is generally low; and
4. The overall quality meets the WHO and EU standards except for turbidity,
true colour, and high faecal Coliform.
6.1.5 Health risk of polluted waters
The rapid rate of urban growth and its subsequent urban expansion, especially in the
developing region like KMA, normally leads to increasing impact on water quality due to
increased water pollution. The increased disposal of sewage, industrial effluents and
agricultural and urban runoffs overload the assimilative capacity of the water
environment to breakdown biodegradable wastes and dilute the non-degradable ones
thus, raising the chemical, physical and the microbiological contents of the water bodies.
The increased effects of deteriorated water quality on the health of living beings in
general and on the humans in particular could be potentially devastating, given the
significant role of water in human activities.
Water pollution can render the water unfit for various usages, from nutrition to
agriculture and industry (Marcoux, 1994). Marcoux asserted that the quantitative supply
of water certainly can be a local issue, but in many regions, the most serious problems
hindering the utilization of water resources is the deterioration of water caused by
pollution. The utilization of degraded and contaminated waters for such activities as
bathing and drinking is one of the principal pathways for infections by diseases that kill
millions and sickens more than a billion people each year (ibid).
The inadequate safe drinking water or rather the lack of it renders its consumer
vulnerable to water-related diseases, such as cholera, bacillary dysentery, Coli infections,
viral hepatitis A, typhoid, etc. It is reported in Nepal, for example, that a yearly minimum
death of 30,000 and morbidity of 3.3 episodes per child was estimated due to diarrhoea,
attributed to the inadequate safe water supply, poor sanitation and living conditions
(Pokherel and Viraraghavan, 2004).
In the case of KMA, the situation may be precarious considering the sanitary situation
prevailing. Kumasi itself lies on top of a watershed and the pollution generated in the
urban area (petroleum, sawdust, waste from the breweries, the abattoir, the tanneries etc)
flows downstream towards its outskirts, affecting and contaminating reservoirs and
streams, which in many cases constitute the only water source in villages with no access
to piped water (Keraita and Drechsel, n.d.).
The peri- urban irrigation farmers in vegetable and other food crop productions use the
polluted water of the streams, even when piped water is available. The mode of irrigation
of these farmers is such that manual fetching with watering cans and buckets are used,
with motorized pumps and hoses less often used as reported by Cornish and Aidoo
(2000). The irrigation method is always similarly independent of crops and water sources,
and not appropriate when considering the bad water quality (Keraita et al, n.d.). The
common method of irrigation with watering cans is likely to result in more produce
contamination than when using systems like drip, furrows or bowls where water is
applied near the roots of the crop (Keraita et al. n.d.).
In a survey made by McGregor et al (2000) in some representative selected peri- urban
areas around Kumasi reveal that there had been reported cases of Dysentery, cholera and
bilharzias among other diseases to which children were being reported susceptible – as
they tended to more careless with hygiene, and as they swam in the surrounding rivers
and streams. These effects are reported as being more prevalent downstream of Kumasi,
however, the as yet embryonic system of reporting through Village Unit Committees has
produced little remedial actions so far (ibid).
The impact of contaminated water on food quality has also been reported by Ogoe (1996)
and Owusu (1998) in Kumasi peri- urban irrigation agriculture, where nematode eggs
have been detected in sampled water bodies including shallow and hand-dug wells,
indicating the presence of helminthes. This presents an indication of the fact that shallow
wells do not necessarily guarantee better quality water than that drawn from polluted
streams and drains.
Ogoe (1996) reported total coliform numbers which upon confirmatory tests, showed the
coliform to be E. Coli, variety I. Table 6.6 below presents the total coliform count per
100ml found in water and crops samples at a site adjacent to Kumasi Airport area, a
suburb of Kumasi.
Table 6.6: Total coliform counts per 100ml of water and crops samples
85 x 103
42 x 102
36 x 102
40 x 102
32 x 102
60 x 103
34 x 102
27 x 102
30 x 102
26 x 102
Source: Ogoe (1996)
Based on the International Commission on Microbiological Specification for Food
guidelines (ICMSF), above values presents no threat. However, it raises concern and
urgent action to prevent further crop uptake from these irrigation waters needs to be
With regards to heavy metals, Amankwah (1993) conducted a laboratory analysis on a
number of vegetables purchased from Kumasi market for their heavy metals content
(table 6.7 below). The results were that only the hot peppers and the local vegetable,
Ntonkom, showed levels of copper and zinc above the UK’s Ministry of Agriculture,
Fishes and Food Guidelines (Cornish et al, 1999), confirming that heavy metals do not
pose major problems in the water resources in KMA.
Table 6.7: Heavy metals content (mg/kg) of selected raw and cooked vegetables (Mean of
10 samples)
MAFF permissible
Hot pepper
Sweet pepper
Garden egg
Source: Amankwah (1993)
In conclusion, it could be said that, even though the water quality standard of Kumasi
Metropolitan Area is better compared with the urban areas of Accra for example (See
Mensah et al, 2001), its potential impact on health could be devastating, given the
cumulative effects of diseases etc. The urgent needs to address such impacts will go a
long way to save human lives and improve the general conditions of health. Hence there
is still a possibility to take a preventable action, which not only would be preferable from
the point of view of human well being, it would also be economically much cheaper.
7.1 Sustainable Development And KMA
As presented in the preceding sections, sustainable development seeks to advocate for
trade-offs between the environment and development. Cities must inevitably grow and
develop in concurrence with the growing populations and increasing socio-economic
activities. Any kind of development must require an increasing utilization of natural
resources (Hardoy et al, 1992), in order to meet the basic needs of the ever-growing
However, the development should be carried out in a manner that does not undermine the
natural resources base to the detriment of the future generations.
This has been the essence of the definition of the sustainable city by Satterthwaite (1992)
quoted in Potter and Lloyd (1998) that a sustainable city is that where the inhabitants’
development needs are met without imposing unsustainable demands on local natural
resources and systems. Satterthwaite further argues that it is not cities themselves, which
pose a threat to sustainability, but the production and consumption patterns associated
with the inhabitants (1992). This is especially true for the wealthier groups, however,
with the poor community; with the characteristic general low level of consumption and
poor life styles, the absence of adequate sanitation and arrangement for waste
management especially in informal settlements, contribute to environmental hazards
(Lundqvist, Narain and Turton, 2001).
The sanitation situation needs to be controlled and legislated against with firm political
will, by establishing policies that ensures sustainable urban planning and management. A
critical question is whether city authorities in poor countries have that capacity (even if
the will exists).
This section aims to ol ok into policy measures put in place to effectively control the
urbanization and urban growth as well as the measures to mitigate the resulting impact on
water resources in KMA. This will however revolve around policy measures in terms of
urban planning, sanitation provision and the protection of water resources.
7.1.1 Sanitation Provision and Water Resources Protection
One of the basic goals of any development policy is to improve the quality of human life
that is invariably linked with the quality of the environment. Apart from the natural
preconditions that can inexorably affect the natural environmental quality, one of the
human induced activity that militate against the quality of the environment and hence the
natural resources base is the inappropriate generation and disposal of waste. This
situation becomes more precarious in the less developed countries especially in the subSaharan Africa.
The lack of adequate sanitary infrastructure and inadequate financial resources, coupled
with rapid rates of urban population growth have led to inefficient and thus unsustainable
sanitary provision and waste disposal mechanisms in most urban areas of the less
developed countries. Solving sanitary problems in the less developed countries could be a
prerequisite for an improved health of the people, which will then lead to sustainable
development of the people.
The provision of adequate water is vital for human survival. However, this provision
must be accompanied by other services such as the proper and adequate sanitation and
waste disposal. The provision of these services must rest on the municipal authorities at
the local level, either by direct provision or by creating an enabling environment for other
private service providers. In the KMA, this task lies on the Kumasi Metropolitan
Assembly, but the administrations performance in these areas leaves much to be desired
(Devas et al, 2000).
As presented earlier, the sanitation provision and the waste disposal are simply
inadequate in the KMA. The Assembly, through its Waste Management Department
(WMD) manages to collect and dispose of about 50 percent of the waste output. The bulk
of domestic refuse collection (>90%) is by communal container systems with other
sources of refuse not catered for. The liquid wastes generated in the metropolis are
supposed to be collected and sent to treatment plants. But most of these treatment plants
together with their stabilization ponds have reached their capacity long ago with the rest
being dysfunctional, as mentioned earlier.
The implications of these inadequacies are that the water bodies are directly or indirectly
the recipients of these pollutants, which poses danger to the polluters themselves and the
downstream users as well. Currently apart from the by- laws enacted by the KMA in
addressing environmental sanitation with regard to liquid-waste collection and treatment,
it appears that there is no clause regulating pollution of water bodies. The closest one is
the national land policy, which stipulates that no activity is supposed to be done within
100m of water bodies.
Pilot measures such as house-to-house refuse collection with its minimal charges ended
up rather sapping the Assembly’s resources, as the fees collected are no where near the
cover costs (Devas et al, 2000).
This, however, is not to say that nothing is being done about the sanitation situation in the
metropolis. In fact, there are several ongoing initiatives such as the Urban Environmental
Sanitation (Urban IV) Project and the Kumasi- Almere Micro- Enterprise Refuse
Collection (MERC) Scheme, both aiming at improved sanitation, including better
institutional and financing mechanisms as well as private sector participation (Salifu,
In addition, the Environmental Sanitation Policy (ESP) approved by the Cabinet in 1999,
which allows the Municipal and Metropolitan assemblies to take action and promulgate
appropriate by- laws to regulate environmental sanitation and prevent pollution within
their areas of jurisdiction has led to an investment of about GHC 11 billion (EUR 1.43
million) in the construction of refuse containers, which it is believed, will help the
assembly to manage the communal refuse stations and the nearly completed Buobai
Faecal Treatment Plant (Ghanaian Chronicle, 2002)11 .
It is expected that the Faecal Treatment Plant when completed will help recycle much of
the faecal matter disposed in the KMA, which may lead to sustainable natural resource
base management, since most of the wastes disposed in the streams and rivers in the
metropolis are likely to be reduced.
7.1.2 Urban Planning
Urban planning generally focuses on the functions that a city provides in terms of shelter,
adequate working environment, production, adequate services, and improved transport
systems, within the close system of urban unit. But from the sustainability point of view,
urban planning involves offering due cognizance to the urban area together with its
surroundings, thus, considered as an ecological unit (Robert, 1999).
This takes into account a call for guided land use management, which can be viewed as
an exercise that guides and controls the development of land towards achieving
sustainable human settlements.
It is clear from the presentations made in the preceding sections that there is little or no
guidance for land use management in the KMA. Even if it exists, it is not enforced. It is
reported that town planners in the KMA, has limited influence over the physical planning
in the KMA (Andreasen et al, n.d.). This is due to the system of land tenure and
ownership operating in the KMA in particular and in the Country in general, as
mentioned earlier, where land is vested in the custody of the chiefs and some few longresident family members, especially in the peri- urban villages, leading to the
development of unplanned settlements. This practice certainly undermines the
sustainability of the land.
The roles of architects and town planners with respect to the development of proper
layout of the lands in anticipation of any mushrooming settlements have been very
minimal. They have rather focused on existing areas; on urban renewal and squatter
upgrading (Andreasen et al, n.d.), without the due cognizance to the provision of
frameworks for the expanding settlements of new areas. According to Andreasen et al,
any new deve lopment of housing appears to take place in a very wide suburban ring of
subdivisions of large plots for bungalows, mushrooming along anything that could serve
as a common property, and hence could be used as a road for example.
This practice is certainly in contrast to the principles of compact settlement, which
ensures efficient land use by minimizing under-utilization of land (Urban Sustainability
Learning Group, 1996).
According to the survey conducted by Brook (2000) in two of his case study villages in
the peri- urban areas of KMA, to determine natural resource development priorities,
among the proposals presented by the villagers expressed the need for the village level
Available at: www.irc.nl/content/view/full/2072. 20/05/2004.
planning of village layout, protection of streams, re-siting of refuse dumps and improved
sanitation. This clearly presents an indication of the neglect of the peri- urban areas
(where most of the new development are virtually taking place) by the city authorities.
This neglect results in inefficiency in terms of the coordination of the use of resources for
efficient development purposes, leading to growth towards unsustainable development.
It would again be recalled in the preceding presentation that most peri-urban villages
have no farm lands left, and those that have some left represent only about 30 percent of
the total land area. This has an implication over the sustainability of the basic food supply
needed for the survival of the urban and peri- urban households. According to the USLG
(1996), urbanizing community, which through its processes of urbanization causes a
decline in the natural capital, which is essential for the future development, can be
characterized as unsustainable urban development.
Lack of effective urban planning and guided land use therefore, not only undermines the
sustainable land use, but also pose a threat to sustainable urban development.
Apart from the national ‘Comprehensive Development Framework’ prepared by the
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development of 1999, at the national level, it
seems probable that there is no effective integrated and holistic approach to curb the
problem of urbanization and urban growth in the KMA, except for a recent proposal
submitted by the KMA administration to seek for funding from the World Bank through a
Cities Alliance Programme 12 . The proposal seeks to prepare a City Development Strategy
(CDS) for the Metropolitan region of Kumasi, whose main objectives are as follows:
1. To enhance income- generation and employment opportunities for the urban
2. To improve and institutionalize the modalities of the District Assembly in the
area of urban planning to enhance revenue generation;
3. To support the evolution of an enabling environment for sustainable social
capital generation through good governance, transparency and accountability
in administrative behaviour; and
4. To protect natural resource and environmental assets through sustainable city
development planning.
The proposal also intends to seek for partnership through the City Alliance programme,
with countries and organizations outside the country of Ghana, to assist in programme
design in solving identifiable poverty-related problems of income generation, urban and
peri-urban unemployment, rural to urban migration, preventions of natural resources and
environmental assets, as well as the expansion of ‘voice’ to deepen participatory
governance in city planning and policy making13 . If funding is successfully secured for
this proposal, its implementation will not only bring hope to the poor urban and periurban residents in the KMA, but will also provide sustainability to the natural resource
base of the region.
Available at: http:/domino-210.citiesalliance.org. 6/07/2004.
8.1 Conclusion and Recommendation
The study has attempted to assess the urbanization patterns of the Kumasi metropolitan
area and to identify its possible future trend. The study also attempted to look into the
impact of this urbanization processes on the natural environment with particular focus on
water resources, and this was carried out by finding the link between the socio-economic
activities in the KMA and the water resources. Finally, the study attempted to look into
the measures put in place to curb or address the problems or otherwise of urbanization
with its entire accompaniment.
The available evidence from the findings of the study suggests that the KMA has
experienced a steady or in some period a dramatic increase in urbanization for the past
two decades, and from all indications, the trend seems likely to continue into the
foreseeable future, unless operational and/or strategic policies are put in place. These
policies should necessarily have to look into the root causes of urban population
increases, such as the “mass” influx of migrants from the countryside, which is believed
to be the major single contributor to the urban population growth in the KMA as
explained in the fourth chapter of this study. Migration to urban areas in the developing
country in general, and the KMA in particular, is inevitable once the urban bias policies
in development are still operational (see chapter three).
Aside the above reasons, the peaceful environment characterizing the KMA coupled with
its relatively endowed natural resources, especially at its periphery, as well as its
commercially-oriented economy has acted as a “pull’” factor for migrants, hence causing
the increase in its urbanization. Amid paucity of data to quantify the composition of
migrants though, it is believed that the majority of migrants are from the northern sector
of the country, which is characterized by ‘unstable’ and fragile environme nt sparked off
by ethnic conflicts.
As explained in the text, the KMA owes its status not as a result of its industrial base, but
mainly as a result of its commercial activities aside being an administrative district. The
increased in urbanization and urban growth has rather increased in the social and
commercial activities in the area characterized largely by informal and relatively low
formal industrial base. The informal activities comprise the small-scale commercial,
processing ventures, and repair services – widely practiced in the urban centers as well as
the widely practiced urban and peri- urban irrigation agriculture. The industries are
involved in the production and processing of industrial products such as latex foams, soft
drinks bottling and wood products
The basic and major water resources in the KMA are the streams, rivers and the
groundwater sources in the form wells and dug-outs. With regards to the urban centers,
the sources of water supply are through the pipe system supplied by GWC. At the periurban village levels, where especially the supply by GWC is minimal or non-existent,
direct use of surface and groundwater sources are widespread.
Water consumption, as usual, in the KMA is by the industrial, domestic and agricultural
activities. The consumption and utilization of water by the industries are quite enormous
as explained in the sixth chapter, compared to the domestic and residential settlements,
but the largest user of water has been the informal irrigation agriculture, which activity is
widespread in the urban and peri- urban areas.
The highlight on volume of water consumption and utilization could serve as an
indication of the amount of waste waters generated by these activities taking place in the
KMA, which have the potential to impair on the quality of water resources found or
located in their vicinity, which include but are not limited to untreated sewage, from the
settlements, hospital wastes, industrial wastes, and urban and peri- urban runoffs,
including agricultural and chemical residues. This in fact, brings us to the significance of
the spatial distribution and organizations where the various economic activities are sited /
located in the metropolis, serving as a link between the socio-economic activities and the
water resour ces, For example, the central Business district of the KMA is located within
the catchment of the Sisa river, which drains the center of KMA, the vehicle repairs at the
Suame Magazine site, which drains the northwestern portion of the KMA, as well as the
woodworks at Anloga which is located closer to the Aboabo river. The study reveal that
most of these water bodies located within the vicinity of these economic activities are
suffering from the wastes generated by their activities.
The study also found that the sanitation condition in the KMA is simply inadequate. The
precarious situation has the potential of posing threat to water resources in the area. It
was revealed that only a few inhabitants have access to proper sanitation services,
aggravated by inadequate waste (liquid/solid) collection, treatment and disposal in the
area. This has also contributed to the relatively polluted water bodies in the area,
especially downstream of Kumasi, where most of these streams and rivers serve as direct
water sources for drinking and other economic activities, especially irrigation in the periurban areas.
The overriding concern of this water quality is its health impact. Even though the general
water quality in the area is relatively better, reported cases of Dysentery, cholera and
Bilharzias, among other infectious diseases – attributable largely to faecal coliform, are
on the increase. In addition, reported occurrences of deteriorated quality of food due to
the contamination by polluted waters used in their production have also been observed
(chapter six). This situation needs an urgent attention, which will not only be cheaper, but
will also go a long way to improve the general health conditions of the people.
On the institutional level, the study has gathered that little effort seems to have been put
to curb and/or minimize the urbanization phenomenon. It was apparent from the study
that there is no stringent policy to control the development of settlement, to formulate
integrated and holistic sanitation policies, and to protect the water resources in the
metropolis. Even though these state of affairs are attributed largely to lack of adequate
financial resources, the study believes that lack of clear policy priority and political will,
placed towards tackling the root causes of urbanization has been the major factor. In this
regard, it is the responsibility of the central government to formulate policies to minimize
the influx of migrants to the urban centers in general and the KMA in particular, by
creating enabling environment for the dwellers of rural peri- urban villages, by way of
providing easy access to farm lands as well as ready market for their produce (in cases of
commercial agriculture), which could serve as an incentive to hold back willing and
potential migrants to the cities.
Aside this and with regards to the northern migrants, the government must ensure peace
and stability in all the conflict prone regions in order to minimize, if not stop, the mass
influx of northern dwellers to the relatively peaceful regions like KMA.
The sporadic “explosion” of settlements - the phenomenon vital for inappropriate use of
natural capital in general and the water resources in particular - could be minimized, if
the KMA authority could devise and enforce by- laws which seek to control the tenure of
land and its subsequent development, so that any such act which tends to impact on
nearby water sources could be prevented.
And finally, it is important that the metropolitan and municipal authorities should
strengthen their human resource capacity with adequate skills and technical know-how to
enforce laws and to deal with any impending consequences that may arise due to
urbanization processes, especially in the KMA.
In all, it is not the attempt of this study to “demonize” the phenomenon of urbanization.
In as much as it has challenges, it also has opportunities that come with it. And once the
process can be controlled and its negative impact minimized in a more sustainable way,
urbanization has the potential to provide an economies of scale among other benefits,
which may subsequently fuel a healthy environment to enable successful urban economic
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Appendix 1: Table showing rainfall distribution data for Kumasi Metropolis (mm)
0 45.5 247.4 166.9 105.2 159.2 417.1 96.5 202.8 99.7 110.4
0 1650.7 137.6 1985
0 132.1 64.4 70.7 154.8 268 173.3 68.5 144.2 170.6
0 1232.6 102.7 1986
5.9 64.8 110 171 46.3 245.9 156.8 192.1 188.7 74.4
3 13.5 1272.4 106 1987
10 309.5 135.7 130.3 341.7 138.8
15 185.5 136.4 38.6 78.9 1520.4 126.7 1988
2.3 112.6 77.2 126.2 310.4 89.3 177 218.2 184.3 36.5 8.2 1461.9 121.8 1989
35.8 69.1 110.2 199.1 115.3 126.4 22.6 29.6 159 147.5 104.7 83.4 1202.7 100.2 1990
58.8 83.9 77.8 133.3 306.9 171.8 88.1 69.7 143.2 122.5 23.7 0.1 1275.8 106.3 1991
5.5 74.3 152.8 150.3 132.7 79.2 30.4 312.8 49.2 65.6 7.1 1063.5 88.6 1992
2 Feb-00 117.5 157.7 140.4 338.9
31 102.6 168 257.1 52.4 26.7 1442.4 120.6 1993
7.3 52.1 194.9 208.9 116.1 96.5 63.1 156.1 179 35.2
0 1109.2 92.4 1994
0.7 121.6 198.8 175.8 155.1 136.6 148.5 138.8 95.7
40 115 1327.2 110.6 1995
3.7 80.2 72.2 111.8 145.7 106 202.7 109.6 72.5 81.8 2.8 51.9 1040.9 86.7 1996
21 138 286.7 218.7 152.2 73.4
59 96.3 162 11.1 11.3 128.1 106.9 1997
51.8 26.6 35.9 267.4 183.3 188.7 56.5
75 74.7 76.5 23.5 31.7 109.6 90.9 1998
43.1 117.9 165.6 157.7 200.8 126.1 88.4 163.8 131.2 40.3 30.6 1283.7 106.9
Appendix 2: Ashanti region – major urban centers
Kumasi metropolis
Appendix 3: Summary of water quality data reported in student theses at UST
Georgia hotel
Georgia hotel
Kumasi Zoo
Asafo market
Ahodwo bridge
Mean values
Accra Rd
Accra Rd
Accra Rd
Mean values
Accra Rd
Accra Rd
Asago Village
Asago Village
Mean Values
Ayeduade Rd
-no confluence
UST campus
UST campus
Mean Values
Gah (1991)
Appiah (1991)
Gov. of Ghana (1996)
EPA (1997)
EPA (1997)
EPA (1997)
Salifu &Mumuni (1998)
Gah (1991)
Appial (1991)
Gov. of Ghana (1996)
Salifu &Mumuni (1998)
Gah (1991)
Appiah (1991)
Gov. of Ghana (1996)
EPA (1997)
Kasanga (1998)
Salifu &Mumuni (1998)
Fleisher-Djoleto (1990)
Gah (1991)
Appiah (1991)
Gov. of Ghana (1996)
Awuletey (1994)
Solids mg/l
9.3 x 107
2.2 x 107
2.0 x 107
2.5 x 102
6.6 x 103
6.3 x 107
2.2 x 106
3.7 x 105
1.3 x 106
5.0 x 104
1.16 x 105
1.28 x 103
TC >1 x 103
4.2 x 104
1.26 x 104
7.0x 104
7.41 x 103
9 x 103
Appendix 4: Drainage system of the major rivers and streams in the KMA
Source: Cornish et al (1999)
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