Using Water Diaries to Conceptualize Water Use In Lusaka, Zambia

  • Stephanie Bishop Centre for African Studies Basel Petersgraben


Most work on water in Africa focuses on issues of water access and quality in contexts discursively delimited as ‘Africa’s water problem.’ This paper identifies some of the shortcomings of this dominant approach and introduces water diaries as one promising methodology for overcoming them. The paper describes the value and challenges of using water diaries for qualitative household water research, with reference to a research project in Lusaka, Zambia.  Water diaries were used to investigate how mothers and domestic workers in Lusaka develop alternative relational tactics, aesthetics and ethics around water, in specific technical water environments. The paper concludes that water diaries can be used productively to better understand the diversity, stability, and significance of urban water practices in Africa today.

How to Cite
Bishop, S. (2015). Using Water Diaries to Conceptualize Water Use In Lusaka, Zambia. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(3), 688-699. Retrieved from