Characteristics of packaged water production facilities in Greater Accra, Ghana: implications for water safety and associated environmental impacts

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Development

By Maxwell Semey, Winfred Dotse-G, Mawuli Dzodzomenyo, Jim Wright in publication

March 1, 2020


March 1, 2020


12:00 AM


Packaged water (sold in bags or bottles) is widely consumed in many countries and is the main drinking-water source for most urban Ghanaian households. There are, however, few studies of packaged water production. This study aims to assess the source water, treatment, and manufacturing characteristics of sachet water (vended in 500 mL plastic bags), together with point-of-manufacture risks to hygienic production. A sample of 90 sachets was collected of brands sold in four neighbourhoods in Accra, Ghana, their packaging and physical characteristics recorded, and a risk score calculated from these. Production processes were observed at 60 associated sachet factories, producers interviewed, and surrounding neighbourhoods surveyed for contamination hazards. 80% of producers packaged groundwater from boreholes and all treated water via reverse osmosis. Almost all manufacturers (95%) reported site visits by regulators in the previous year and few risks to hygienic production were observed at factories. Sanitary risk scores were 9.2% higher at the seven factories never visited by a regulator, though this difference was not significant (t = 1.81; p = 0.07). This survey suggests most Ghanaian sachet water originates from groundwater and is comparatively safe, though a minority remains unregulated. Groundwater governance policy could support this industry in meeting Greater Accra’s growing water demand through the designation of protected municipal wellfields.

Posted on:
March 1, 2020
1 minute read, 213 words
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