HONOURABLE Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing has stated that his declaration of war against illegal water connections was no fluke and that it will be extended to other parts of the country.
He therefore warned such economic saboteurs to take cover before the Sword of Damocles fell on them.
Hon. Boniface was reported to have stormed Nima and Maamobi, two suburbs of Accra where he helped in arresting some illegal water connectors who had installed powerful water pumping machines, thus depriving other users of water in those areas.
Hon. Boniface stated this when he took his turn at the regular Meet-The-Press Series under the auspices of the Ministry of Information and National Orientation in Accra.
It was attended by Hon. Cecilia Dapaah, Minister of State at the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hon. Oboshie Sai-Cofie, Minister of Information and National Orientation, who also chaired the function, Hon. Frank Agyekum, Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, Chief Directors and Andrew Barbers, Managing Director of Aqua Vitens Rand Limited.
The press conference was to address nagging questions on the minds of Ghanaians, particularly those in the Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area (ATMA) who had been experiencing acute water shortage lately.
He mentioned that water supply to ATMA totaled about 85 million gallons per day from the Weija and Kpong Treatment Plants while current delivery was about 76 million gallons per day.
“In contrast, demand is over 150 million gallons per day which leaves a deficit of nearly 74 million gallons per day even in the best of times.
“This situation has given rise to a rationing system in the metropolis to make available some water to residents at various times and this programme had been going on for some time,” he explained.
Hon. Boniface further explained that the rationing system put in place helped some areas which for a long time did not receive any water supplies. He said now the 'deprived' areas had water while those that had what he termed 'reasonable' amounts of water supply were now experiencing less frequent supplies.
“This rationing programme is to ensure that at least most residents in Accra receive some water some of the time rather than some few areas receiving reasonable amounts of water to the detriment of other residents who do not receive any at all,” he stressed.
Hon. Boniface attributed the cause of the acute water shortage to the shutting down of the Kpong transmission line on February 26, 2008 for 18 hours for maintenance and repair of serious leakages.
He also mentioned that the same day, Weija had to be shut down for two and half hours due to power interruption and that on February 27, 2008 Kpong suffered low voltage.
“On the same day, electricity supply to Weija was interrupted for an hour, in addition to a major pipe burst on Independence Avenue.
“On Friday February 29, there was a 2-hour power interruption to Kpong and another to Weija on Saturday March 1 for an hour.
“To put the situation in perspective when, for instance, there is a five-minute power outage, it takes at least five hours to restore water flow. Therefore the impact of these occurrences on water supply is enormous,” Hon. Boniface pointed out.
In the short-term, he noted, Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) had drilled 13 boreholes in various parts of Accra for mechanization to supplement water availability in some areas.
The Minister disclosed that work on six of those boreholes at Tantra Hill, Dome, Ashongman were in progress and would be completed in two weeks.
“For areas like Teshie, La, La Hospital, Osu, Cantonments, Ridge, Nungua and other vulnerable areas, steps are underway to install jumbo water containers in identified areas for direct delivery through tankers. Particular locations in these areas have been mapped out for this intervention to begin and will continue as long as it is required.”
For medium-term solutions, Hon. Boniface stated that in the last couple of years, government had been able to obtain financing for a number of water projects throughout the country since 2002.
When the issue of Aqua Vitens Rand Limited came on the floor, the Minister insisted that by the contract and performance, the water managers had not been disappointing and therefore there was no need to call for the abrogation of the management contract.
Wisdom Peter Awuku