On the occasion of World Water Day, The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has made a call to all Ghanaians to value and protect the country’s water resources.
The annual United Nations (UN) observance day held on March 22 every year is being marked all over the world today on the theme "valuing water".
The focus is on what water means to everyone; how important water is to our homes, our livelihoods, wellbeing, and the many aspects of our lives.
Joining the rest of the world to mark World Water Day, CONIWAS has stressed on the need for Ghanaians to cherish the country’s water resources.
“As we celebrate together with the world, CONIWAS will like to join the global call to urge Ghanaians to value and protect our Water resources. As we recognize the different values of water due to the multiple uses it has, CONIWAS still wishes to draw attention of the public to the inequalities associated with water delivery which is still very inherent in our system,” part of a press release from the CSO said on Monday.
Meanwhile, CONIWAS is also calling on the government to prioritize and refocus the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector not only as an “Essential Services” Sector but a Sector strengthened to work towards Leaving No One Behind at all times and not only during emergency situations.
Find below the full press release from CONIWAS on World Water Day:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
CONIWAS World Water Day Message- March 22 2021
“Valuing Water: Reducing Inequalities in Access”
Accra March 2021. Once again, Ghana Joins the whole world on 22nd March 2021 to commemorate the World Water Day. This year’s theme of World Water Day (WWD) 2021 is "valuing water". It talks about what water means to everyone; how important water is to our homes, our livelihoods, wellbeing and the many aspects of our lives. The 2021 World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the global water crisis while calling on all to value, protect and safeguard our water resources. It also calls on the whole world to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
As we celebrate together with the world, CONIWAS will like to join the global call to urge Ghanaians to value and protect our Water resources. As we recognize the different values of water due to the multiple uses it has, CONIWAS still wishes to draw attention of the public to the inequalities associated with water delivery which is still very inherent in our system.
WWD in 2021, just like in 2020 is being celebrated amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. It is heartwarming to know that 80% of Ghanaians have access to safe drinking water (MICS 2017/2018), however a pandemic such as COVID-19 underscores the importance of providing safe water for all as stipulated in SDG 6. Whilst the government’s efforts towards preventing the spread of COVID-19 has been widely acknowledged and commended, significant efforts are required to ensure that all Ghanaians have adequate access to safe water for different purposes but particularly for hand hygiene amidst the pandemic. WASH Services infrastructure, whether in urban, rural or peri-urban communities are poorly developed and there are many locations in Ghana where people do not benefit from these services. About a third of rural communities do not have access to safe water because of inadequate investment. Issues relating to poor operations and maintenance of facilities in rural communities and small towns have rendered WASH facilities inoperable and therefore cannot provide the required service levels needed by the people.
The situation may be worse for our children. As schools across the country have re-opened, it is important to note that most schools do not have access to regular safe water supply sources and improved toilets resulting in poor hygiene practices leading to increased risk water and sanitation-related diseases. About 31% of primary schools and 28% of pre-primary schools either do not have water facilities or have an unimproved water facility . Therefore it will be very difficult for most schools who do not have regular flow of water, especially those in the rural areas to effectively practice hand washing during these critical times.
As we mark the World Water Day today under the theme “Valuing Water” CONIWAS wishes to draw the government’s attention to the issues of inequalities raised above. To support the 2021 WWD call on the SDGs;
• CONIWAS calls on government to prioritize and refocus the WASH Sector not only as an “Essential Services” Sector but a Sector strengthened to work towards Leaving No One Behind at all times and not only during emergency situations.
• Human Rights to WASH services geared towards eliminating inequality and leaving no one behind must become a priority of Ghana and situated in all WASH Sector Policies and programmes, and should guide allocations of resources to the Sector.
• We are also reminding all Ghanaians to value water by using water responsibly and by contributing their quota in the protection of our water resources.
Executive Secretary, CONIWAS
For further information, Kindly contact 0244595664 / 0244713332
The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) is a membership-based umbrella CSO formed in 2003 to advocate for improved access to WASH services by the poor vulnerable and marginalised population especially women and children. CONIWAS engages in WASH Sector activities using evidence-based actions gathered through its research agenda and experiences from its members most of whom support the citizenry with WASH Services at regional and local government levels. Membership of CONIWAS currently stands at 90 and are spread throughout the country