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24.05.2007 General News

Government to implement policy to protect riverbanks

By GNA

As part of efforts to help avert continued pollution of water bodies, government has mandated the Water Resources Commission to develop a Buffer Zone Policy to protect riverbanks.

The policy would also involve the application of integrated water resource management principles at the basin levels to ensure sustenance of water resource, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing said on Wednesday.

In a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy, Mr Christopher Addae, at the launch of a "Save Water Campaign" in Accra, Mr Owusu-Agyemang stated that Aqua Vitens Rand Limited, consultants to Ghana Water Company, had estimated that about 40 to 45 per cent of unaccountable water in the system was due to illegal connections and leakages.

"This has made it difficult for the company to supply the required amount of water to consumers," he added.

The campaign is to educate people on the need to conserve water for the sustenance of life.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang said Densu River, which supplied water to parts of Greater Accra and the Eastern Regions, was heavily polluted and the Company spent billions of cedis annually to purify it.

According to him, this had come about because communities along the River used its buffer zone and the River itself for all sorts of activities.

The Minister said there was the need for all to inculcate water conservation attitude in the public and avoid using unreasonably high amounts of water to wash cars, dishes, water lawns and gardens.

He urged the public to report leakages to the appropriate authorities for repairs.

Mr. Emmanuel Amarquaye, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wisewater Limited, a company spearheading the education campaign on the need to use potable water wisely, said it was the responsibility of all to be conscious of their water consumption behaviour and the positive impact this would have on the nation.

He noted that the "Save Water Campaign" would educate teachers, pupils and parents on the importance of water as a scarce resource.
"Our objective will end up helping the Senior Secondary Schools to cut down on water consumption by up to 30 per cent and still enjoy the same level of service."

Mr. Cliff Stone, Operations Director of Aqua Vitens Rand Limited, said although the company did not have valid data on illegal connections, it was the leading cause of loss of water to the Company.

To reverse the trend, he said, Government gave backing in the 2007 Budget for the installation of pre-paid metres, adding that a pilot project was underway to study the project.

He explained that due to technological and other related difficulties in installation of the metres, the pilot study would verify whether the project would be cost-effective and applicable.

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