The government of the Netherlands has spent more than 80 million euros over the past five years to improve and expand water supply in the Central Region to help solve the perennial water problem of the Region, particularly Cape Coast and its environs.
Ms Lidi Remmelzwaal, Netherlands Ambassador announced this at a durbar held in her honour as part of her three-day visit to the Region to inspect various water projects being funded by her government.
She said the amount invested in the water sector in the Region would reach 100 million euros this year, stressing that that investment was a priority, because the lack of water in any community could contribute to poor sanitation practices.
Currently, five major water supply systems in the Region are being rehabilitated and expanded with funds from that government. They include the dredging of the Brimsu Dam in Cape Coast, rehabilitation and capacity expansion of Cape Coast water supply, rehabilitation and capacity expansion of Kwanyaku water supply system, Baifikrom water supply project and Winneba water works rehabilitation and augmentation.
Ms Remmelzwaal urged residents to address sanitation problems and also ensure the sustainability of the water supply systems upon their completion.
The Central Regional Minister, Nana Ato Arthur said the Region had benefited immensely from the Dutch government not only in the water sector, but also in the road, education and tourism sectors and expressed his appreciation.
He said the Dutch government through the European Union (EU) had also provided 24 million Euros for the dredging of boreholes for 20 small towns in the Region adding that the Winneba and Kwanyaku works had been completed, while those of Cape Coast and Baifikrom were progressing steadily.
The Minister said the Netherlands government was in addition funding the construction of six steel bridges in various parts of the Region and had provided the education and tourism sectors with six million and 300,000 euros respectively.
Nana Arthur said the Assin-Fosu water supply system also needed rehabilitation to fully solve the Region's water problem and said a feasibility study on it had been completed and appealed to the Dutch government to assist in its implementation.
He further asked for assistance for the dredging of the Fosu Lagoon in Cape Coast.
Nana Kwamina Ansah V, President of the Central Region House of Chiefs and the Omanhene of Eguafo traditional area who chaired the function, traced the existing relationship between the Netherlands and Ghana to the 17th Century and stressed that it should be further strengthened for their mutual benefit.
He recalled that sometime in 1872, the Dutch government paid an amount of 2,000 pounds to the people of Elmina for poverty alleviation when trading activities declined in the town and expressed the hope that the Dutch would further help boost the economic development of the Region.
Ms Remmelzwaal who was accompanied by her husband Mr Cortenberg later visited the on-going Cape Coast water expansion project at Sekyere Heman, the Brimsu water works and the Fosu Lagoon.