Population growth in West Africa has outpaced local efforts to expand potable water services, and private sector sale of packaged drinking water has filled an important gap in household water security. Consumption of drinking water packaged in plastic sachets has soared in West Africa over the last decade, but the long-term implications of these changing consumption patterns remain unclear and unstudied. This paper reviews recent shifts in drinking water, drawing upon data from the 2003 and 2008 Demographic and Health Surveys, and provides an overview of the history, economics, quality, and regulation of sachet water in Ghana's Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area. Given the pros and cons of sachet water, we suggest that a more holistic understanding of the drinking water landscape is necessary for municipal planning and sustainable drinking water provision.

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