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General News of Thursday, 10 June 2010

Source: GNA

Over 50% of potable water produced in urban areas unaccounted for

Accra, June 10, GNA - It is estimated that about 51 per cent of wate r produced in urban areas by management of Ghana Water Company Limited (GWC L) is unaccounted for due to leaking pipelines, illegal water connections an d inability to collect bills from consumers. This came to light during a review by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the World Bank Urban Water Project in Accra on Thursday. The project was initiated in 2006 to enable people in urban area to access potable water.

Mr Patrick Apoya, Water and Sanitation Specialist, said the World Ba nk cited the steadily worsening financial condition of GWCL and the low leve l of investment in the urban water sector as the main reasons for allocatin g 103 million dollars to support the sector.

"The investment was also aimed at significantly increasing access to

potable water in urban areas, with emphasis on improving accessibility, affordability service reliability to the urban poor and also restore the financial sustainability of GWCL," he explained. Mr Apoya noted that the project was aimed at providing at least 50, 000 new household connections, majority of them in low income households, provide standpipes in poor urban localities and ensure that 91 million dollars out of the 103 million dollar seed money was used to expand the infrastructure of GWCL.

He said the inability of management of GWCL to function effectively

had led to a steady decline of access to potable water in urban areas fro m over 70 per cent in the late 1990's to about 60 per cent in the early 200 0. In their synthesis, the CSOs called for a review of the World Bank's

project since it had failed to address some of the challenges which necessitated their intervention and appealed to PURC to monitor effective ly and efficiently activities of water tanker providers since they sometimes

charged exorbitant prices.

They condemned the poor quality of water produced by GWCL in some urban areas to consumers, and called for more access to potable water by poor consumers and a review of the lifeline policy of GWCL. However, they could not agree on whether GWCL should enjoy private financial support from corporate organisations or not, since it was a sta te institution which must work to generate its own finances for its activiti es. Some of the CSOs which participated in the review were; Ghana Federation for the Disabled, People's Dialogue, National Coalition agains t Water Privatisation and Community Network Initiative.

The rest were; Global Neighbourhood Network, Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation, ISODEC and Millennium Women's Coalition.