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23.11.2005 General News

Accra City Water Project takes off January

By Statesman
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THE second phase of the Accra City Water Project under the UN-Habitat Water for African Cities II will take off January next year with a total start up capital of US$1.45 million. The UN-Habitat will provide US$1 million while Government of Ghana will contribute the remaining balance. The project is expected to end in 2007.

This was disclosed by Mariam L Yunusa, a Senior Programme Officer of UN-Habitat, at a validation workshop for project formulation and implementation and gender mainstreaming of the Phase II of the Water for African Cities programme held in Accra.

Ms Yunusa said UN-Habitat was actively engaged in consultations with international development finance institutions to explore ways of speeding sector investments in the urban water and sanitation sector to benefit the urban poor. “This will also help international development support to be targeted at pro-poor interventions more effectively. In this regard, we are striving to establish close working linkages with the on-going slum up-grading and urban observatory programmes by UN-Habitat in Ghana,” she said. As the leading United Nations agency for urban water and sanitation issues and a member of the UN Millennium Task Force for Water and Sanitation, UN-Habitat is responsible for the systematic and sustained tracking and review of progress towards attaining the internationally agreed water and sanitation goals. Ms Yunusa stated that the second phase of the Water for African Cities programme would be monitored through extracting data on intra-urban differentials and gender de-segregated data to support the development of policies and programmes at national and city-levels targeted at improving service delivery to the urban poor.

The phase was launched at the Pan-African Conference on Water held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The objective of the second phase is to carry out a pilot project consisting of interventions to be implemented in an integrated manner to increase access to, and to manage urban water supply and sanitation (liquid, excreta, garbage) facilities and services in a low income area in Accra (Zabon Zongo) in a sustainable manner. Also, it aims at completing selected project activities not completed during WAC I, sanitation, gender differences and building partnership are additional themes.

Ms Yunusa said pro-poor governance with investment follow-up seeks to effect directly policy, regulatory, legal and institutional instruments. She said new focus was also meant to spur substantive and sustainable follow-up investment in water and basic sanitation to benefit low-income earners who do not have access to water and sanitation services. Guided by a broad set of criteria, the Zabon Zongo neighbourhood in the Abossey Okai sub-Metro Assembly of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly has been selected for the implementation of the second phase.

After the selection, a detailed study of Zabon Zongo area revealed that problems concerning water supply include lack of adequate water distribution network; inadequate number of public standpipes; inability of the Ghana Water Company Limited to account for water sold; unwillingness to pay for water consumed and non-payment of water utilised because of illegal connections, among others.

Some of the problems associated with sanitation are lack of proper liquid water disposal system resulting in indiscriminate disposal of liquid waste; lack of sufficient and properly managed solid waste disposal sites leading to dumping of refuse indiscriminately; unwillingness to pay for garbage dumped at designated collection points and irregular collection of garbage from dumping sites due to irregular payment of contractors.

In an address, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, said when the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy Framework and Action Plan, which was developed for the Accra City Water project by experts in Kenya June this year, is endorsed, it would facilitate the achievement of the major goals of the Gender Mainstreaming Initiative.

Mr Owusu-Agyeman said the initiative included the “genderisation” of water and sanitation delivery through the development of gender sensitive norms and standards, and the support of enhanced participation of women in water and sanitation utilities and decision-making.

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