Accessing water services in Dar es Salaam: are we counting what counts?

K.O. Nganyanyuka, Javier Martinez Martin, A. Wesselink, J.H. Lungo, P.Y. Georgiadou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


A significant proportion of urban residents in developing countries has no access to public water supply and relies on unofficial, or even illegal, sources. They buy water from small scale water vendors or collect it from unimproved water sources. This paper draws on qualitative semi-structured interviews with public officials, private water providers and citizens to document details of citizens' strategies for accessing water in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. From these data, we develop a descriptive and evaluative framework to capture the complex mix of sources, uses, and intermediaries in planned and unplanned settings and by affluent and poor citizens. We assess to what extent these strategies solve access problems like quantity, quality, affordability and reliability. We conclude that statistics such as the Millennium Development Goals do not count the access to drinking water that counts for citizens. We discern a bias towards formal state or privatised city-wide systems, discounting the mostly informal, small-scale and unofficial strategies to access water
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-366
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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