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23.03.2009 Business & Finance

New investments needed in the water sector

By gna

Mr Stephen Ntow, Country Representative for WaterAid, a non-governmental organization that focuses on safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation in poor developing countries, on Monday identified the need for new investments for the water sector to ensure sustainable supply of fresh safe water for every Ghanaian.

He explained that there was the need to fund investments that promoted the availability of direct water for people especially those in the rural areas.

Mr Ntow, speaking in an interview about the problems in the water sector and the importance of World Water Day Celebration, said there was also the need for affordable and appropriate technologies that would support investments in the sector.

World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 every year.

Mr Ntow said, “some of the technologies we use in this country are too expensive and it is not easy to maintain them, as such it only meets a specific need of the rich and those who are able to afford.”

He noted that the practice where water was available for the rich and those who can afford and unavailable for the poor resulted in an unfair distribution of the resource.

“The poor and those in the rural areas also need to get access to water the same way those in the urban areas get access to water,” he said, pointing out that urban water arrangements did not consider the need of the poor.

Mr Ntow said the Millennium Development Goal on water would not be achieved if there was safe water for only those who were able to afford expensive water services and emphasized the need for pro-poor policies so that those who cannot pay for safe water would also access the resource.

He said there was the need for harmony between sector's players, explaining that sometimes there were conflicting results and duplication of work among stakeholders.

Commenting on the availability of technologies for recycling and desalination, he said those types of technologies were good if they were affordable but these technologies only addressed small problems because of the cost involved.

Desalination refers to the process used to remove salt and other mineral content from water.

“Recycling, for instance, ensures that we maximize the use of water as a scare resource,” he said, acknowledging the need to treat waste water as much as possible before discharging it.

Mr Ntow said there was also the need to prioritise sanitation issues, because the availability of water without proper sanitation did not work.