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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman

The Stressful Water Rationing Policy of the Government

Alex Bossman Baafi

Water is life and it is very true that water is one of the crucial necessities of lives of human beings, animals and plants. Not all living creatures of creation can live without water. It is for this reason that every modern nation makes it a priority to supply the people with good drinking water for national security reasons.

Since about two decades ago, the reliable supply of water in the cities and villages of this country has been problematic. This is because we have failed as people as and more importantly as governments to plan to expand our water supply facilities in line with the population growth of our country. This has been the case because successive governments perhaps have failed to appreciate the fact that water is life and therefore should be made priority number one. Our chiefs and District Assemblies have also failed in our contemporary times to protect water bodies around the country. Have we forgotten that water is life?

In my humble opinion, in order of priority, water is the best. Under NPP Administration, erratic water supply in the country compelled the people to name the yellow twenty-two litter container as ‘Kuffour Gallon’ and water shortage became one of the hot campaign issues that was well articulated by the current president then in opposition. All the best efforts made by the previous administration solved the problem somehow only to resurface under the current administration that has done very little to improve the water supply situation for the good people of this country.

Many well-meaning people were enthused when the President John Evans Atta Mills appointed Honorable Alban Bagbin as Minister of Water Resources and Housing. The first pronouncement of the Honorable brought hope, for, he assured that under his leadership erratic water supply situation in the country had come to a close, but that bold promise had become one of the political talks. The water supply situation had now become worse with the government resorting to water rationing other than reliable using best efforts to improve upon water supply in the country. The president himself was happy announcing in his State of the Nation Address that because of the water ration policy of this NDC government, water supply has improved in many parts of the Accra city and other parts of the country. However, the rationing policy has worsened the water supply situation in the country and therefore the policy is not the best but stressful.

To improve the water supply in this country, the good people of this country, the Ghana Water Company and the government have parts to play. Consumers have been made to pay realistic tariffs for the supply of water, courtesy the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) by adjusting the tariffs up recently. Though the adjustment met a huge public outcry, it was pushed down the throat of the people as a precondition to enjoy efficient and reliable water supply. The Ghana Water Company and its supply agent must use their best efforts to minimize waste in their production and supply systems by attending to burst pipelines promptly, monitor to curb illegal connections and embark upon regular maintenance of their facilities to improve the delivery of water for the betterment of the good people of this country.

Because water is life, the government is required and must make it a duty to make substantial investment to improve the water situation dramatically for the last time. Probably the time has come for us to have a look at our budget allocation to the water sector. If the government can take a bold step to pay $1.5 billion for Koreans to provide STX Housing, is it not equally important to commit such huge investment to the Water sector? If we do not have enough resources to undertake the housing and the water improvement projects simultaneously, what is prevented us from seeing reason to prioritize water in place of housing? In my humble opinion, our governments do not have the welfare of the good people of this country at heart and we need to hold them accountable for their misplaced priorities and corruption.

One great lesson for us is the current outbreak of Cholera disease that has taken over sixty-one (61) lives with more than 4,000 people infected and still country. Medical experts believe that lack of good drinking water had contributed to the outbreak of cholera. We should really bow our heads in shame to sit aloof as a people and as government for our nation to be plagued with archaic disease like cholera in this modern twenty-first century. I think the time has come for us to stop queuing for premix fuel, gas, kerosene, electricity and water. The water rationing policy is very much stressful so the government must get on top of the problem. The good people of this country deserve better than the ‘TOT-TOT’ mentality associated with this government because will not guarantee the “Better Ghana” for our people.

Email: abkbossman@yahoo.co.uk