Water security is a worldwide pressing social justice and human rights issue. In many countries, water security disparities are evident among households in the same community. The consequences of low water security are well documented, including morbidity, mortality, financial hardship, and social conflict. However, the social determinants of water security are less understood, particularly in urban areas of developing countries. This study uses a mixed methods approach with a focus on household resources in an urban Philippine community to address 2 aims. First, the study examines the association of financial, physical, and social resources with 4 water security measures: consumption, perceived cleanliness, perceived ease, and affordability. Second, the study examines ways in which households acquire and use financial, physical, and social resources to improve water security. Data are from randomly sampled household surveys (N = 396) and purposively sampled in-depth interviews (n = 18). Results of multiple regression analysis show income is positively associated with reported consumption and affordability of water; water storage capacity is positively associated with reported consumption and perceived cleanliness, but negatively associated with affordability; and having a household connection to the municipal utility is positively associated with reported consumption, perceived cleanliness, perceived ease, and affordability. Qualitative results shed light on the challenges to water access, and the role of social resources in improving water security. Findings can inform social programs and policies to improve equitable distribution of water-related resources among households.
Project: Environment and Social Development
Mason, L. R. (2014). Examining relationships between household resources and water security in an urban Philippine community. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 5(4), 489-512. doi:10.1086/678923