Make prompt payment to utilities and WASH service providers… to ensure sustainability of water supply – CONIWAS tells gov’t.

The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has called on government to ensure prompt payment to the utilities and service providers to ensure that Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and other community service providers do not suffer financial stress, which could affect the systems in future and threaten sustainability of water supply to the people of Ghana.

It would be recalled that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently gave a directive to GWCL, CWSA and other service providers to provide free water for Ghanaians for the next three months (April, May and June) during these critical times.

According to a press statement issued and signed by the Executive Secretary of
CONIWAS Mrs Basilia Nanbigne in Accra said the Coalition is happy about Government’s decision to provide free water for Ghanaians.

The statement notes that currently, the Corona Virus Pandemic (COVID-19) has taken over the world and has highlighted the importance of appropriate hygiene, particularly handwashing with soap under running water, which has been emphasized by experts as one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of the virus. As such, the need for water at this time by the entire populace cannot be overemphasized. We are therefore happy about the president’s directive. It added.

Portions of the statement reads: “The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources in reiterating the president’s directive stated that, all Ghanaians are to have free water irrespective of their water service provider. CONIWAS sees the initiative as laudable, and we commend government for the commitment to fighting the corona virus disease in Ghana.

We, however, like to draw Government’s attention to the following; In providing free water to Ghanaians, government must ensure prompt payment to the utilities and service providers to ensure that Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and other community service providers do not suffer financial stress, which could affect the systems in future and threaten sustainability of water supply to the people of Ghana.” It reiterated.

“Government (Ministries, Departments and agencies and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies) should urgently engage managers of community managed water systems and private water service providers at local level to adhere to the president’s directive and provide free water to the people they serve.

Operations and maintenance costs for community managed water systems and point sources are paid for through daily water sales. Arrangements must, therefore, be made to ensure that these costs are adequately covered by MMDAs throughout the period.

Again, the livelihoods of the vendors/point source managers who provide oversight to these systems are dependent on the amount of money generated, so some measures must be put in place to secure these livelihoods.” the Coalition insisted.

Even as we provide tanker services to people who live at places with no access to any sustainable water systems, we wish to remind government to make plans to provide sustainable water services in every part of Ghana. It cautioned.

The statement further explained that the importance of water at this crucial time is a wake-up call to the country on the need to prioritise access to water everywhere in Ghana. We commend Government’s efforts in curbing ‘galamsey’ so far and call for more action since this will also promote sustainable water service delivery. We need to use this opportunity to work hard to meet the SDG goals for water access. Indeed “Water is Life” it said

Massive Clean-up of Major Cities

CONIWAS will also like to commend the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and other relevant ministries, departments & agencies and MMDAs that worked together to disinfect and clean up the major cities and towns of Ghana.

The situation in our cities after the exercises and the response from the general public implies this must be done on a regular basis.

This the Coalition believes will contribute significantly to achieving a cleaner, healthier Ghana. Saying “It is our hope therefore that, this will not be a nine-day wonder. The exercise should be continued regularly to ensure that our cities are rid of filth. As well as going a long way to prevent the many floods that occur due to the filth in our cities.

“We wish to also call on every Ghanaian, to be responsible in the way we use water. We need to remember that, when we waste water, we deprive our neighbour from also having access to it. There are many more people who do not have access to safe water. This is the more reason we should use water wisely.” It warned.

The coalition also called on all Ghanaians to continue to promote improved sanitation and appropriate hygiene even after COVID-19. We encourage all Ghanaians to use this period to change our behavior. Let us desist from dumping rubbish in gutters and on our streets and use this period to change our behavior as we work together to keep Ghana clean. It added. 

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
Writer’s email: franklinadonkoh@gmail.com

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