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06.01.2006 Regional News

Water problem in Central Region to end in two years


Accra, Jan. 6, GNA - Government on Friday secured 25.7 million euros facility from the Netherlands to solve the perennial water problem in the Central Region within the next two years.

The facility, made up of 13.5 million grant and 12.2 million loan from the Netherland Government and Fortis Bank of Netherlands is to finance the rehabilitation and expansion of the Baifikrom Water Supply Project at Mankessim.

It would involve the drawing of surface water from the Ochi Amissa River to supply portable water to almost all parts of the region to serve over 20 communities spread over a number of districts. In addition, a 3.8 million-euro grant and a loan portion of 6.3 million euro were signed with the Netherlands government and the Fortis Bank for construction of 21 dental facilities in the country. Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning signed on behalf of Ghana Government

Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing and Major Courage Quashigah, Health Minister whose sectors were to receive the funds witnessed the signing.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said with a capacity of 2,270 cubic meters of water per day, the Baifikrom plant currently produces as low as 1,700 cubic meters, which was far inadequate to meet the increasing water demand of the communities in the catchments areas.

He said water distribution reservoirs would be built and more than 80 kilometre pipelines would be laid to meet the water demand of the districts.

This according to the Minister would complement the Cape Coast and Kwanyaku Water Supply Schemes in the region financed by the Netherlands government, which currently were under rehabilitation and expansion. Mr Arie C. A van der Wiel, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana said the agreement was the sixth urban water supply scheme her country had signed with Ghana and that he was hopeful that through the series of projects the water problem would soon be a thing of the past. He announced that two more projects, the Tamale and Barekese in Kumasi water supply rehabilitation and expansion at an estimated cost of 80 million euros would be signed in the forth-coming month. Mr van der Wiel said the growing challenge of the water sector was waste management and added that the gradual but irrevocable deterioration of coastal waters around the country required wake up for managing water pollution.

Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, said 50 percent of the water requirement was currently being met and noted in two years when the project would have been completed, the Central Region would be the best served region with urban water supply.

He said this year about 630 million dollars was expected to be injected into the sector following several water projects earmarked for construction.

On the dental facilities, Major (retired) Quashigah said with the 55 dental clinics existing in the country only 16 were in the rural communities where 70 percent of Ghana's population lives. He said the funds would go into the provision of civil works, installation of medical equipment and training, which would significantly help to reverse the wide urban-rural gap in oral health facilities in the country. 06 Jan. 06