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20.01.2006 General News

500 million dollars to expand water infrastructure

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Kumasi, Jan. 20, GNA - The Government has earmarked 500 million dollars this year, to invest in the infrastructure development of the water sector to expand and improve availability, accessibility and reliability of water supply to most Ghanaians.

Under the programme, many water systems nation-wide would be rehabilitated and expanded while new pipelines would be laid to increase water generation and distribution in the country.

Mr Kobby Kesse, Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), announced these at a public consultative forum towards improved utility services in Kumasi on Thursday.

The forum was organized by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to solicit views and opinions from the public on operations of the utility companies and how they could improve on their services.

The companies are the Volta River Authority (VRA), GWCL, and Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

It is estimated that 1,020,000 cubic metric tonnes of potable water is demanded a day, however, 570,000 cubic metric tonnes is produced a day by all the 80 urban water supply systems operated by the GWCL. Therefore, about 56 per cent of urban dwellers have access to potable water.

Mr Kesse said as part of the programme, 35 million dollars had been approved to expand and improve water facilities in Kumasi while 230 million dollars had been approved for the rehabilitation and expansion of water systems in Accra and Tema.

Other regions to benefit from the programme are 50 million dollars for Tamale, 50 million dollars for Cape Coast, 30 million dollars each for Kwanyako and Baafikrom and 80 million dollars for Sunyani to improve their water systems.

All the projects are expected to begin this year.

Mr Kesse said 50 billion cedis was spent during 2004/2005 to remove and replace old pipelines throughout the country, and 30 billion cedis would be spent this year to replace old pipelines.

He said there were some other small expansion works being undertaken currently in some water systems throughout the country. The Deputy Managing Director said the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) expected to commence within the water sector in April this year, would help improve efficiency and services to the public. Mr Kesse said in spite of the many challenges within the sector, a lot was being done to ensure many people have access to potable water.

He appealed to Ghanaians to be tolerant and patient since investment in the water sector took time to manifest.