'Every Living Thing': The Nexus of Cultural and Economic Values Within Resilient Urban Water Systems (a Case Study of Hargeisa, Somaliland)

Project status


As urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa expand, creating resilient urban water systems to sustain human health and sanitation is a primary development challenge. This challenge is particularly acute in Somaliland, where rapid urbanisation and economic growth, combined with a legacy of conflict and the implications of climate change, creates both immediate and long-term water stress. While economic and hydrological expertise is increasingly brought to bear on meeting these systemic challenges, less well understood is how cultural values, including tribal and religious constructs, interact with the economic and utilitarian values to inform municipal water governance. Through a case study of Hargeisa, this multidisciplinary project fuses insights from socio-hydrology, water economics and social geography, to explore the nexus between economic and cultural values and (in)formal water practices in order to strengthen the resilience of urban water supplies and secure affordable access to safe water for all.

Research team

Dr Richard Gale, Cardiff University; Professor Alison Brown, Cardiff University; Dr Abdi Gass, Gollis University, Somalia; Dr Adrian Healy, Cardiff University; Professor Max Munday, Cardiff University

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