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29.09.2005 General News

Water Directorate holds donor meeting

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Accra, Sept. 29, GNA - Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Works and Housing (MWH), on Thursday appealed for donor assistance in the construction of a Secretariat to house the National Water Directorate, which would oversee the coordination and harmonisation of all issues concerning water in the country.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang said the absence of a well resourced and established Water Directorate had led to the duplication of donor functions, abuse of water resources and unmet needs for water in most communities.

The Minister, who was addressing a meeting with donors in the water sector in Accra, said the Government desired to give water the needed emphasis, but it was unfortunate that the water sector was financially distressed, due to an increase in demand for water supply. Donors including the World Bank, Danish international Development Agency (DANIDA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with the Netherlands being the lead donor, attended the meeting to discuss issues including a water policy, increased government funding for the sector and preparation for the 2005 donor conference. The Minister said the water policy, which was currently being studied by the Sector Ministry, would soon be forwarded to Cabinet for discussion and to Parliament.

He said when the policy was passed, it would regulate the operations of all donors and ensure the protection of all water bodies and further ensure the provision of potable water supply for all. Mr Owusu-Agyemang said there was the need for enhanced public education on conservation of all water sources, as the cost of provision of potable water supply was high.

He urged donors to use simplified technologies of water provision, which were affordable and very flexible for local contractors to use. "Most of the time technology transfers are too expensive and considering the time frame given by donors, most of the contracts end up with foreign contractors, leaving out our local Ghanaian contractors, who normally do not have such technological experiences," he said. The meeting proposed the establishment of a Water Fund to ensure potable rural water delivery, without necessarily waiting for donor funding.

Mr Minta Aboagye, Director of Water, MWH, said there was the need to enhance the capacity of the private sector in the provision of potable water, as most contractors lacked modern technological expertise in drilling for water for either agricultural purposes or domestic use.

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