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04.03.2008 General News

Ghanaian cities overtrake water supplies

By The Statesman
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Over the last 30 years, the rate of urbanisation has outstripped levels of urban water supply.

The water situation in the capital city worsened at the end of February 2008, with planned maintenance on the main transmission line from Kpong Water Works to the Tema Booster Station, resulting in production declining to a third in capacity on February 26.

The Statesman newspaper reports that the government will be taking some emergency measures in the first week of March, to ameliorate the situation.

Worse affected areas such as Teshie and Nungua in Accra will have tankers supplying residents with water.

The government is also installing jumbo water containers in certain identified areas for direct delivery through the tankers.

This relief effort is expected to last at least two months, at" an initial estimated cost of GHC 12,500 a day to be borne by the state.

The situation was aggravated by a power failure at Weija on February 26, 2008 which lasted for 3 hours and affected the main transmission line.

However, the maintenance work has been completed and the Ghana Water Company Limited is putting pressure on the Electricity Company of Ghana to ensure that there is sufficient power supply to all treatment plants, especially Weija, the Accra Booster, Tema Booster, and Kpong to minimise power interruptions.

The all-important East-West Interconnection, which will finally link Adenta to the two main supply sources is receiving maximum support. It is expected to be on full stream by July 2008.

According to the Statesman newspaper, the GWCL has indicated that designs and funding arrangements from the Danish government are far advanced to hook up fast-growing Kasoa and its environs to the much-resourced Kwanyako and Winneba Water Works.

This is also expected to be completed in six months.

Water supply to Ghana's 9 million urban dwellers is estimated to be around 55 percent (as at 2004).

With urban population expected to increase to 14 million by 2015, the old problem of demand outstripping supply may only worsen unless massive capital is injected in the sector.

Already, the quality of the country's water resources is increasingly being degraded as a result of agriculture, housing, commercial, industrial, and mining activities.

Also, most of the water supply systems were built over three decades ago and are now in need of replacement.

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