Coupling a hydrosocial perspective with institutional bricolage, this research considers possibilities for participatory water governance in Ashaiman, a peri-urban settlement of Accra, Ghana. We explore three questions: (1) How do people in Ashaiman evoke ideas or experiences of water in general and water governance in particular? (2) What possibilities currently exist for engaging the community in key water-related decisions? (3) What possibilities exist for enhanced participatory water governance in this context, including potential for and interest in new institutions and engagement processes? Results of qualitative interviews and semistructured observation suggest that a siloed, water-centric approach inadequately captures everyday realities of water as hydrosocial and of existing institutions in Ashaiman. In contrast to “modern water,” we propose that water issues may be more meaningfully addressed as bundled with social welfare. Potential implications and alternative ways of understanding socio-institutional arrangements for participatory water governance are explored.
Photo Credit: Stuart Allen from flickr/ Creative Commons