Date posted: 5th Sept 2011
“It is the policy of government to ensure that all the good people of Ghana have access to good drinking water and sanitation,” His Excellency President John Evans Attah Mills assured in a key note address delivered on his behalf at the opening of the Forum by Hon Alban S.K. Bagbin, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing.
This year’s forum, which is on the theme “Water and Sanitation Services Delivery in a Rapidly Changing Urban Environment”, is being held from today Monday 5th September to Wednesday 7th September, 2011.
“We as a government are intent on doing what is best for the people of this country. To this end government will spare no effort to ensure that we do better than the target set for the year 2015. Government’s target for the water sector is 85 percent by the year 2015,” the President noted.
He was happy that rural and small towns sector have made and continue to make huge strides in deepening rural supply since the national community water and sanitation programme was launched by government in 1994.
But he lamented the state of urban water, noting that “Urban water supply coverage has however stagnated over the same period with water rationing being the norm rather than an exception.”
To address the challenge, he said government has launched an initiative to provide bore holes fitted with hand pumps to all the remotest part of the country including peri-urban areas. “We are also in the process of implementing the Sanitation and Water for All Compact to which the government of Ghana has committed itself.” In addition, the World Bank grant of over 100 million dollars for the implementation of the urban water project is ongoing. “The Chinese have also supported us to construct an additional treatment plant at Kpong” which will increase water supply from Ghana by several millions of gallons per day.
“I’m told that this will also be able to get water for us to serve Adenta and its surrounding areas. The World Bank project is expected to end this year and the Chinese project is expected to end in three years time,” President Mills said. He was optimistic that “With the completion of this project and other projects we will soon see a rapid improvement in the delivery of water supply in urban centres.”
On the issue of urban sanitation, the President issued a fiat, saying, “I want to urge all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to implement relevant by-laws to ensure all households have access to appropriate sanitation facilities in their homes. I further urge these assemblies, especially those in Accra, to come together to coordinate their activities in accordance with the local government Act (Act 462)” and other relevant laws of the country.
He also urged the various assemblies and their regional coordinating councils to imbibe the Community-Let Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach. He concluded his address by expressing government’s appreciation for the role and contribution of various stakeholders including development partners, civil society organizations and the private sector. There were various fraternizing messages from sector partners, including children, business community, development partners, civil society and allied ministries, departments and agencies. Largely, the speakers noted progress made on the recommendations from GWF 2 and urged that more should be done to address pertaining challenges.
Delivering the theme address, Prof Kwamena Ahwoi, a professor of governance at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) asked participants to, in their discussions, consider the separation of the production and distribution of urban water and invite independent service providers into the sector.