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08.04.2011 Regional News

Upper West Region benefits from 300 boreholes

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April 07, 2011 Wechiau, April 5, GNA - Mr Worlanyo Siabe, Upper West Regional Director of Community Water and Sanitation Agency, has appealed to the six beneficiary districts of the Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project to endeavour to pay their share of the five per cent component of the fund for the successful implementation of the project.

He has also advised the districts and community members to avoid selecting any disputed lands for the implementation of the project because such had the potential of delaying the project.

Mr Siabe said this at the Wa West District launch of the project in Wechiau on Tuesday and advised the implementers of the project to give priority to communities that were found to have high incidence of water borne diseases in the selection of communities to benefit from the project.

He warned the community members to be mindful about the social challenges that the project was likely to bring to them and advised the chiefs and all other opinion leaders to start to educate their girls against unwarranted sexual behaviours to avoid contracting HIV and AIDS.

Mr Seidu Tungbani, Wa West District Chief Executive, said he was happy that the project would provide potable water for people to help reduce the incidence of water borne disease as well as the burden on women, who used to walk long distances, to fetch water from unwholesome sources.

The project would also help women to undertake more income generating ventures as they would now have more hours to work with.

Mr Tungbani gave the assurance that the district assembly was committed and willing to co-operative with the contractors, who would come to undertake the project in the area, for its successful implementation.

The Project is to provide 300 boreholes for six districts in the Upper West Region to augment the existing facilities to help improve water supply and sanitation services in the communities.

The World Bank is financing the project with 75 million dollars and it would benefit Wa Municipal, Nadowli, Wa West, Wa East, Sissala East and Lambussie/Karni Districts, which would contribute five per cent of the total cost as counterpart funding.

Mr Sampson Atakora, an Engineer at the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, who gave the outline and profile of the project, said 55 new boreholes and one small town water system would be provided for the district under the five-year project.

Government would also drill 32 more boreholes in 28 communities in the district under its Priority Rural Water Project, while the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) would supply eight rural communities and four schools with potable water and sanitation facilities under its Assisted WASH Programme.

Mr Atakora said the district at present had 207 boreholes serving about 185 communities and was enjoying 73.64 per cent of rural water coverage as at the end of 2010, which was slightly lower than the 76 per cent Millennium Development Goals' target.

He expressed regret that water systems completed on previous projects had not been properly managed according to Community Water and Sanitation sector strategy.

He said districts oversight responsibility over completed water systems was weak and water system management was often abused at the community level.

Membership of water boards in the communities were often politicized thereby dividing members of the communities, who did not provide the required support, for effective management of the systems.

Some community members also think that the provision of water should be free no matter the cost and using poverty as measure to justify their refusal to pay water bills.

"These emerging challenges if not properly addressed, the sustainability of existing piped water systems in the communities would collapsed", Mr Atakora pointed out.

He noted that some institutions such as the Police Service, Senior High Schools, Hospitals and some important individuals connected to piped water systems were also refusing to pay for their water bills and called for a change to the practice, otherwise the water systems would all crumple soon.

Mr Atakora said sanitation in the Wa West District remained below 10 per cent and it was unlikely that the 54 per cent coverage target of the Millennium Development Goal would not be achieved by 2015.

He said the project would integrate sanitation and hygiene promotion to help to scale up sanitation coverage in beneficiary districts and was hopeful that new interventions by non-governmental organisations, the United Nations Children's Fund, the World Bank and others, would help provide opportunities for increasing the sanitation coverage in the Wa West District.

Households would be tasked to put up their own latrines to help to stop indiscriminate defecation being practiced by community members, he said.

Madam Margaret Dery, a Secretary at the Dorimon Area Council, told the GNA that the project would help promote government business in the district as some government officials were refusing to stay in the district because of inadequate potable water.

"As a woman, water is next to air, without it, life comes to a halt at home", she said, adding: "A good woman is all about the availability of water, without water no woman can be said to be good or beautiful".


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