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Regional News of Tuesday, 29 July 2003

Source: GNA

Select Committee inspects water supply system

Wenchi (B/A), July 29, GNA - The Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing has expressed satisfaction with the management and operation of the 3.4 billion cedis Wenchi Small Town Water supply system.

The Committee commended the management board for the effective distribution and sale of potable water to the people.

Members of the Committee expressed the sentiments at a meeting with the Wenchi water management board after a day's inspection tour of the project site at Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region.

The tour took the Committee to similar projects in other parts of the region to enable the members to find out the progress of work on such projects, review either their success or failures and suggest ways forward.

Mr Sampson Otu Darko, MP for GA North and Chairman of the Committee commended the management board for doing "a very good job, since everything is under control".

He said the project was laudable, but cautioned that it would only serve the people's interest if only they ensured good, proper and periodic maintenance and repairs of the equipment.

Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, MP for Wenchi West and a member of the Committee advised the board not to be content with the success they had achieved, but to assess the general progress of the project's execution since its completion to determine if the success conformed to expectation.

He explained that the assessment should be based on the progress being made with respect to the actual economic rates that consumers ought to pay by engaging the services of a consultant to work out an economic and acceptable tariff that would satisfy both the consumers and the management board to sustain the project.

Alhaji Amadu Seidu, MP for Yapei and a ranking member of the Committee advised the board to rid itself of any partisan nature for the people to understand and reason with them about the management of the project.

He explained that the board required absolute moral authority and acceptance by the general populace in its determination and fixing of the tariffs and that could only be possible when it was seen as a neutral body with no political inclinations, the ranking member added. Mr Michael Kwantwi, Wenchi District Planning Officer and Secretary to the Board in a progress report said the Wenchi water system, the largest in the country was started in October 2001 and handed over to the community in June 2002.

The Government of Ghana and the European Union (EU) jointly funded it, while the community provided five per cent of the total cost.

Mr Kwantwi explained that the water system consisted of eight mechanized bore holes drilled at different locations and connected to a transmission line through which water is pumped and transmitted into a central tank from which water is distributed for consumption.

The system has 58 public dual standpipes with 105 distribution points for private connections (DPPC) and other fittings at various vantage points in the town.

The Secretary said the Board had so far made 250 million cedis from the sale of the water at 100 cedis per bucket and 4,000 for the first 20 cubic meters of water per private household, while institutions pay 5,000 cedis for the first 20 cubic meters and 6,000 cedis for the first 20 cubic meters for commercial users.

He said though the Board was facing a number of problems in the management of the project, "outrageous" electricity bills was particularly taking about 50 per cent of the revenue.

Mr Kwantwi explained that between January and May this year, the Board paid 138 million cedis as electricity bills and expressed the hope that it might reduce to a reasonable cost from June because they had started using meters to determine electricity consumption.

Mr Francis Kwasi Enu, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) explained that the system had a capacity to produce 800 cubic metres of water daily but currently supplied between 400-500 cubic meters of water every day.

The Committee also visited Derma in the Tano District where it held a meeting with the management of Derma Water and Sanitation Development Board about the state and progress of a similar project in the town. The project, completed about three years ago at the cost of 550 million cedis, was funded by GOG and EU with five per cent component of the cost coming from the community.

The system is designed with an overhead concrete tank that can store 35,200 gallons of water pumped from three mechanized boreholes. Mr Ayirebi Baffour, Secretary to the Board told the Committee that since the beginning of its operation they had made 70 million cedis out of the sale of water.

Mr Modestus Ahiable, MP for Ketu North and a member of the Committee suggested to the Board to acquire a permanent office accommodation since the project was a long term one. The Committee members also paid a courtesy call on Nana Owusu Asante II, Chief of Derma and also undertook another tour.