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23.03.2007 General News

Gov’t urged to reduce communities' contribution to rural water supply


The government was on Thursday urged to review downwards, the five percent contributions to the capital cost required to be paid by rural communities and small towns towards the provision of potable water in their areas.

This is because the "late and infrequent" payment of such contributions could be largely attributed to poverty and inability to pay.

The appeal was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a four-day review conference organized by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) on the theme: "Institutional assessment and re-engineering of CWSA for effective corporate performance", at Elmina.

Officials from the ministries of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Finance and Economic Planning, district assemblies, project advisors and board of directors of state agencies attended the conference.

The communiqué stressed that the high incidence of guinea worm in some parts of the country posed a serious health hazard that tended to exacerbate poverty in affected communities.

It advocated an intensified public awareness drive to promote attitudinal change among the people and the need to give attention to exploring alternative water sources where ground water was unavailable.

The communiqué also expressed concern about inadequate government funding to the CWSA, which it said was often released late, making it difficult for the Agency to meet its operational and investment needs.

The communiqué further noted that the implementation of the provisions of the procurement Act by the CWSA in its operation caused delay in the prompt and timely execution of projects and the acquisition of goods and services.

"There is the need to intensify the interaction between the Procurement Board and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to make the CWSA regional offices procurement entities in order to facilitate timely project delivery" it added.

On the quality of water supply, the communiqué observed that tests carried out in some communities and districts revealed a high level of fluoride, iron and manganese in ground water and called for the provision of treatment plants to the affected communities to ensure a sustainable provision of potable water to those areas.

It additionally urged the government to expedite action on the passage of the water policy and the subsequent promulgation of the relevant legislative instruments (LI) for the community water and sanitation sub-sector, to empower the Agency to enhance its performance.

The communiqué also observed that most district assemblies lacked effective capacity to manage specific project needs in the districts and stressed the need to intensify capacity building of the assemblies to enable them to play their roles effectively.

The Chief Executive of the CWSA, Dr Philip Gyau-Boakye, in a comment said there was the need for the government "to drastically reduce" communities' contribution to water supply, since it had been realized that it was communities with high incidence of guinea worm that found it difficult to meet their contributions.

Source: GNA