Date posted: 7th Sept 2011
The time for setting up a “Water Fund” is due, while there is need for the fragmentation of the water production-transmission-distribution chain in urban water management, says Prof Kwamena Ahwoi, a professor of governance at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
“As a country, we have set up funds for all kinds of purposes which are not all vital for human existence and survival. We have a GETFund, but we can exist and survive without education, even though at the great cost of ignorance. We have a Road Fund, but we can exist and survive without roads and indeed without travelling. But can we exist and survive without water? The answer to this question simply tells us that a ‘Water Fund’ to take care of those who cannot afford to pay for water at any cost is a sine qua non to any urban water supply system that we may decide upon.”
Prof Ahwoi says he believes the fund will help alleviate impact of a new policy reform he has recommended. Delivering the theme address at the opening of the 3rd Ghana Water Forum (GWF-3) on Monday, Prof Ahwoi called for the fragmentation of water production-transmission-distribution chain in urban water management.
Being aware that some of the ramifications of his suggestion could be commercialisation and its attendant high cost of water, he quickly signaled: “Those options that I am asking this Forum to consider are not meant to indicate support for commercialisation of water in a way that will make it unaffordable.”
He observed: “…if there is one commodity to which human beings must be considered entitled as a matter of natural right after the air that we breathe, it is water. Everybody needs water, and that includes criminals, prisoners, beggars, lunatics, destitute and indigents meaning outlaws, the confined, the excluded, the marginalised and the disadvantaged. “Any option for urban water supply must therefore include a ‘safety net’ to cater for these categories of homo sapiens.”
In his view, setting up a ‘Water Fund’ could aptly cater for a ‘safety net’ and help lessen the impact of the proposed measures on poor and marginalised.
This year’s forum was on the theme “Water and Sanitation Services Delivery in a Rapidly Changing Urban Environment.”
By Frederick Asiamah – Ghana Watsan Journalists Network