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23.10.2008 General News

GWCL assures improvement for urban water systems

By The Statesman

On a press conference held on Tuesday, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) strongly promoted the efforts of their Urban Water Project, which is supposed to improve Ghana's urban water systems.

Currently, the GWCL is responsible for providing, distributing, and conserving water for domestic, public, and industrial purposes in 84 urban systems throughout the country.

The company is also mandated to establish, operate and control sewerage systems in Ghana.

Their present Urban Water Project comprises different components in order to improve the situation of Ghana"s water supply

Due to an expansion and a rehabilitation of the urban water systems, the access to treated water is supposed to be increased, and the service to low income areas to be extended.

Reducing non-revenue water and supporting dam safety upgrades are other targets.

Therefore, the project was supported by the World Bank with a grant of $103 million. Moreover, the Nordic Development Fund contributed another $5 million, while the Government provided the remaining $12 million of the $120 million project, which started in 2004 and will end in 2010.

The financial supports are also to ensure the long-term financial stability, viability and sustainability of GWCL, as well as to provide technical assistance and training of the staff.

In addition, GWCL signed a Management Contract with the Aqua Vitens Rand Limited Company (AVRL) in November 2005 to improve its performance and to rehabilitate and extend the infrastructure.

AVRL, which is a partnership between the local government owned Dutch Water Company Vitens and the State owned South African Company Rand, now acts as the operator.

It is responsible for technical, commercial, administrative and financial services.

"Management is very much concerned about the serious impact of inadequate water supply situation in the country especially in Accra-Tema, but we assure members of the general public that we are working closely with the sector Ministry to undertake programs aimed at improving water delivery in the country,' Acting Managing Director of GWCL, Daniel Adjetey confirms at the second assessment of the Urban Water Project in Accra on Tuesday, October 21st .

Since 2001, GWCL has undertaken major expansion and rehabilitation works on a number of urban water supply systems throughout the country. Figures show that the energy cost of produced and sold water has been decreased during the last years.

Due to the growing production and the reduction in non-revenue water, the sale of water increased about 3% from 2006 to 2008.

The total revenue grew by 83%, which is an additional income of 47 million Ghana Cedi over the year.

Furthermore, there is a significantly reduction of the chemical cost; the water quality is maintained, measured and reported monthly.

Nevertheless, GWCL 'has largely not been able to attain all its corporate goals and objectives because of lack of adequate funding', Mr Adjetey admitted.

'The current production/performance trend shows that GWCL is very far from meeting customers' satisfaction and expectation.

While population is growing about 2,6 % per annum together with improved living standards among the urban majority and the attendant use of more water, sector expansion has on the average been hovering around 1% per annum.'

By now, effective urban supply coverage is about 58%, which is quite low compared with the UN Millenium Goals and the country's own GPRS targets.

Furthermore, the illegal and un-paid access to water is another problem that has to be solved. For instance, a Customer survey of 7000 connections in Bortianor showed that 15,000 people (23%) receiving water without paying for it.

However, GWCL does not lose hope to aim its targets concerning the improvement of urban water systems in Ghana.

To increase the focus on Customer Care the company has already set up a new National Customer Call Center - the free number is 0800 40000.

Finally, 'management is confident that, when completed, all these planned and on-going expansion and improvement projects will go a long way to solve the water shortages in the country', Mr Adjetey assured.