General News of Monday, 20 August 2012

Source: Daily Guide

Poor People Pay More for Water

Poor people in urban centres pay more for water compared to the affluent in society, according to a consultant helping the Ministries of Water Resources, Works and Housing and Local Government and Rural Development to develop a national strategy for the water sector.

Patrick Apoya said the problem had persisted because poor people depend on secondary providers rather than the Ghana Water Company for water.

At the launch of the strategy co-sponsored by the USAID and CHF International, which was aimed at getting underprivileged communities involved in urban services, Mr. Apoya said third party suppliers and vendors, who are the main source of water for poor households, charge as high as 10 to 20 times than the approved tariffs.

He said services rendered to households are poor and unreliable.

He attributed the situation to weaknesses in governance structure and said urban water and sanitation hygiene services needs to be strengthened without delay.

Senyo Amengor, Acting Managing Director of Ghana Urban Water Limited, told CITY & BUSINESS after the launch of the project that the households pay 83 pessewas per one meter cubic, representing 1000 litres of water.

“When you are connected for domestic use we charge 83 pessewas per 1 meter cube those who are poor in terms of access to water have to pay more because they do not have direct access to our pipelines.”

He said the growing urban population was making water supply services cumbersome, explaining that “the planning of the water supply system was done when the demand was not much higher and we doing our best to match our systems with the growth of the population.”

Dr. Sumani Alhassan, Director of Water Directorate of the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, in a speech read on his behalf, noted that Ghana was experiencing rapid urbanization, adding that government was struggling to cope with the increasing demand for water and sanitation and hygiene services.

He explained that though 51 per cent of the population live in urban areas only 64 percent of them have access to improved water supply.

Before launching the strategy, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Nii Nortey Dua stated that the current Ghana Water Company Limited delivery approach does not clearly define the role of communities and non-state actors in water provision.

“There is the need to create the environment for innovative community management that will synergize with operations of Ghana Water Company Limited,” he said.

He expressed the hope that the national strategy would address the problem.

The Country Director of CHF said the objective of his organization which has been in Ghana for the past three years is to increase access of households to affordable, improved and sustainable drinking water and strengthen local governance for water supply and sanitation services delivery.