Bridging Disciplinary Frontiers
Edited by Mari Jose Aranguren Querejeta, Cristina Iturrioz Landart and James R. Wilson
Chapter 10: Water Governance and Urban Local Development: An Analysis of Water Services in Sub-Saharan African Cities
10. Water governance and urban local development: an analysis of water services in Sub-Saharan African cities Catherine Baron 1 INTRODUCTION Urban spreading, which has characterized numerous Sub-Saharan African cities for the last 30 years, has hampered a global vision of city and particularly water distribution. Some neighbourhoods are excluded from the formal city, and are considered as the ‘invisible part’ of the city. This leads to a segmented vision of the whole urban area. The people living in these excluded areas have no individual connection to the conventional water network, and this lack of a global approach of water services reinforces the segmentation of cities. This process has a particular impact on water services for urban spaces which are alternatively named ‘illegal settlements’, ‘slums’ or ‘peripheral neighbourhoods’. Indeed, exceptionally high urban growth has led to the exclusion of an increasing part of the population from access to drinkable water.1 To explain this evolution, studies have focused both on the ineﬃcacy of implemented policies, particularly in the treatment of land tenure and irregular habitats, and on generalized urban access to drinkable water (World Bank, 2003). Regarding access to drinkable water, studies have stressed the bad evaluation of individual demand and the number of consumers to serve, which has led to investments in insuﬃciently adapted infrastructures. Moreover, with decentralization recommended by the international institutions, municipalities have had to face increasing costs of maintenance. In such an environment, the question of access to urban services, and particularly to water services, has...
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