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22.10.2008 Social News

Water expansion behind population growth - GWCL

By gna

Ghana's population is growing at about 2.6 per cent per annum but expansion in the water sector is hovering around one per cent per annum, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) indicated on Tuesday.

The current performance trends showed GWCL was far from meeting customers' satisfaction and expectation, Mr Daniel Adjetey, Acting Deputy Managing Director, GWCL, told newsmen at a press conference in Accra.

He said effective urban water supply coverage was about 58 per cent, saying this was a very low figure in the country's quest to attain the Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation and the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy targets.

Mr Adjetey noted that GWCL therefore required an investment of 1.6 billion dollars, according to a strategic investment study conducted in 1998, to meet in urban water supply by 2020.

Reacting to concerns that GWCL's operator, Aqua Vitens Rand Limited (AVRL), had failed to ensure improved water supply, Mr Adjetey pointed out that AVRL had contributed significantly to improve water sales and production.

He revealed that AVRL had increased GWCL's revenue collection ratio to 80 per cent, resulting in an additional income of 47 million Ghana cedis since 2006.

Mr Adjetey further expressed confidence that GWCL management would help to address water shortages and hinted that government had secured funding for the rehabilitation and expansion of other urban water supply schemes.

He mentioned ongoing projects to include the Tamale, Koforidua, Kumasi, Mankessim and Weija expansion projects.

On illegal connections, Mr Kweku Botwe, Managing Director of GWCL, said that over 15,000 consumers were not paying for water supply.

He said as a result, the GWCL hoped to meet with the police, civil society and stakeholders to fashion out strategies to clamp down on the water theft.

Mr Botwe stated that although GWCL had a reward system in place to give 20 Ghana cedis to residents who reported such illegal activities, the package was not exciting enough to motivate residents to take the risk and expressed the hope it would review the system to make it more attractive.

Reacting to calls by the National Coalition against Water Privatisation's for the abrogation of the AVRL contract, Mr Botwe said: "We see the Coalition as an ally and we appreciate their effort to getting the sector perform efficiently.”

He, however, reminded the public that so far as GWCL had not taken an equity position the contract with AVRL could not be described as privatisation.

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