Efficiency of Water-Supply and Sanitation Projects in Ghana


The efficient use of scarce resources for domestic water supply and sanitation is particularly vital in low-income countries. Conventional cost–benefit analysis gives an indication of the appropriateness of projects but often fails to reflect factors that cannot be assigned monetary values. A form of linear programming, data envelopment analysis, is used to measure a single-efficiency score for 10 water supply and sanitation projects in Ghana, relating noncommensurate technical, financial, economic, institutional, social, and environmental inputs to output factors of reliability, utilization, and convenience. Following the experiences of the Water Decade, the desired public-health benefits were deemed to follow from the utilization of reliable and convenient facilities. Results suggest that capital- and management-intensive projects for water supply in major cities are as efficient as community-based rural sanitation schemes based on pit latrines. Within these two extremes, many projects are failing to reach potential levels of efficiency; most significantly, rural boreholes fitted with handpumps, sewerage, and overengineered latrines.