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Cairo Papers in Social Science


Cairo Papers in Social Science


The socio-economic study reported here was conducted in July and August of 1979 as part of the Egyptian Government's Metered Water Service Connection Program for improving and ex­panding water and wastewater utilities in Greater Cairo. Ap­proximately one quarter of the population of Greater Cairo pre­sently lacks direct access to the city's water supply_system and must obtain its water from public fountains. Households lacking water connections are chiefly in the poorest areas of the city. The current program is thus ·geared to serving resi­dential areas whose inhabitants are on the lower half of the city's income scale. These, however, are the very areas which present the greatest technical and administrative problems in terms of providing city services in general. Many questions regarding community receptiveness to this program, the cultural impact of instituting service, and effec­tive means of assigning installation and on-going costs of the service required investigation if 'the project were to be effec­tively implemented. The nine kisms, or administrative sub-divisions, of the city selected as candidate areas for the project were as follows: Cairo Governorate (Sayeda Zeinab, Matareya , Zeitoun, Masr El Kadima, Maadi, Helwan-Tebin), Giza Governorate (Embaba, Giza), and Kalyubia Governorate (Shubra El Khema). Such areas are of enormous interest and importance to planners, as they are growing very rapidly and currently lack a wide range of urban services in addition to water connections. Until this study, however, no sociological or anthropolog­ical research had ever been carried out in these areas. Abu­Lughod's urban study of Greater Cairo (1970) provided invalu­able comparative data, but some of the areas studied here were not even in existence at the time of her work, and all of them have changed dramatically since that time. This research thus has potential utility for future urban planning, as it not only gathered basic statistical data on the physical attributes of the communities and basic demographic data on their inhabitants, but also included basic ethnographic study of life in these areas. It is the ethnographic component of the research which is reported in this issue of Cairo Papers. Although space limita­tions have led to the omission of many of the detailed statis­tical tables and maps prepared for the original report, resear­chers interested in utilizing these data or the questionnaire prepared for the study for purposes of restudy of the areas or for comparative purposes are welcome to contact the authors. The research for this project was funded by USAID loan 263-K-04201 to the General Organization for Greater Cairo Water Supply (GOGCWS). The research itself was carried out by the authors as part of a contract between the GOGCWS and ES-Parsons. The recommendations ensuing from the research appear in the ori­ginal ES-Parsons report entitled Socio-Economic Report on Pro­posed Service Areas (Reference Job Number 5938-2/3191), March 1980.

Publication Date

Spring 1980


American University in Cairo Press




water consumption, Kisms, socio-economic, waste water, disposal, poverty


Cairo Papers in Social Science 3(3)


Development Studies | Near Eastern Languages and Societies | Sociology

Living without water