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WaterPower: studying physical and socio-political factors in water security

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conference contribution
posted on 2018-02-12, 15:11 authored by Antje Bruns, Maria Kondra, R. Alba, J. Akubia, L. Bartels, F. Frick, K. Schulz
This briefing paper presents the initial findings as well as the integrative approach of the project WaterPower. WaterPower is a four year research project that is currently in its second year. The project combines multiple scientific perspectives to study how social and biophysical factors are interacting to shape the various uses and flows of water in Accra. The city of Accra has been chosen as a case study due to its status as a coastal capital in the global south where major global trends such as climate change and rapid urbanization intersect. Water as a natural resource, we content, is not only of great importance for the sustainability of ecosystems and socioeconomic systems. Flows and uses of water are also bound to questions of politics, security and accessibility. However, in spite of these interrelated social and biophysical challenges we maintain that Water Studies as a field of research is still surprisingly disciplinary in its approach and scientific outlook. This briefing paper therefore pursues a twofold objective. On the one hand, we seek to show how the WaterPower research approach can contribute to a more integrated understanding of Water Studies in an urban context. On the other hand, we present our initial findings on how individual and collective capacities for responding to the multiple water-related pressures at hand can be strengthened. In sum, we emphasize that an ongoing and intensive exchange with stakeholders, policy-makers and interested parties in Ghana is essential for WaterPower’s integrative approach.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


BRUNS, A. ... et al, 2016. WaterPower: studying physical and socio-political factors in water security. IN: Shaw, R.J. (ed). Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all: Proceedings of the 39th WEDC International Conference, Kumasi, Ghana, 11-15 July 2016, Briefing paper 2519, 4pp.


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