Mr Stag Barlyng, Danish Ambassador has stressed the need for the government of Ghana to work with her development partners to ensure that all communities benefited from the supply of potable water.
He said it was the responsibility of the government to ensure that the economic gains benefited the marginalised and vulnerable groups of the society.
“All groups within the society must benefit from improved access to water and sanitation irrespective of gender, religion, tribe or geographical locations,” he said.
Addressing the 11th Joint Government of Ghana and Development Partners' Water and Sanitation Conference at Akosombo on Thursday, the Danish Envoy noted that though the country had experienced economic growth, the benefits had not been evenly distributed.
Mr Barlyng, who spoke on behalf of the development partners, re-echoed the need for a collaborative effort to ensure that all communities benefited from enhanced social services.
“I note that more than 40 percent of all Ghanaians still do not have access to sufficient safe drinking water, and an estimated 60 percent or more do not have access to latrines,” he said.
Mr Barlyng said the situation required massive investments to turn the tide adding, “I do realize the magnitude of investments required and the level of cooperation needed between the government of Ghana and development partners”.
He urged the government to show strong adherence to policies and competent leadership for the implementation of agreed protocols at the decentralized level.
Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister of State at the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing admitted that there were some challenges in tackling the problem of access to water despite efforts made last year to scale-up services to the people.
She said the country was on course to achieve a target of 76 per cent of water coverage by 2015, which now stood at almost 57.07 per cent, three percent increase from last year's figure of 54.7 per cent.
Equally, the urban water coverage now stood at 60 per cent, and expected to reach 65 per cent next year when a number of projects in parts of Accra, Cape Coast, Koforidua and Tamale were completed, she said.
Miss Dapaah said the government had come up with a policy to regulate human activities close to water bodies, and was instituting bye-laws to manage water systems at community and small towns' level.
Alhaji Yirimea Awudu, a Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, whose presentation focused on sanitation, urged the media to lead in efforts to “appeal to the conscience of Ghanaians to respect the environment,” since ignorance and indiscipline were partly responsible for the poor state of sanitation in the country.
He charged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to rigidly enforce their sanitation bye-laws, especially on household latrines and ensure that the public toilets were used by transient population rather than residents.
Mr Kwadwo Affram Asiedu, Eastern Regional Minister, expressed the hope that the meeting would strengthen the objective of stakeholders to adopt prudent measures, which when effectively implemented, could help augment the supply of potable water to all the people to promote their well-being.