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13.02.2006 General News

Gov't seeks legislation to regulate water usage

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Sekyere-Hemang (W/R), Feb, 13, GNA- The Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, on Monday broke the ground for a project to draw water from the Pra river, to augment water supply in Cape Coast and its environs, at Sekyere-Hemang in the Western Region.

He hinted, that the government was "looking at a legislation" to regulate the use of water to ensure its sustainable supply. The project, which is being funded by the Dutch government at a total cost of about 40 million Euros, is scheduled to be completed in 24 months, and would also augment water supply in Komenda and Elmina and their surrounding communities.

The funding is comprised of a 50 per cent grant and a 50 per cent concessionary loan, under a development credit facility, the ORET/MILIEV programme, of the Netherlands.

The contract is being undertaken by Ballast Nedam Ghana B.V, and among others, involves the construction of raw water intake station on the Pra river, a new treatment plant at Sekyere-Hemang with a capacity of 6.6 million gallons of water per day, and the laying of 52 kilometres of PVC water transport mains and the provision of sludge treatment and disposal facilities. It is expected that by the end of the project, the Brimsu treatment plant near Cape Coast and the Sekyere-Hemang treatment plant, would have a total capacity of providing 9.9 million gallons of water per day, to adequately meet the water demand for an estimated population of 415,000 people up to the year 2020. The Minister, enumerated several benefits that would be derived from the project, such as the improvement of the health status and standard of living of the people, creation of jobs for the local communities reduced water-borne and water related diseases and be a potential for tourism development in the region. He noted that the rehabilitation and capacity expansion of the water supply system alone would not ensure its full utilization and that under the first year 'Investment Programme' being funded by the World Bank under the Urban Water Project, most of the primary distribution pipelines constructed in the 1928's, are to be renewed or replaced with lager sizes.

Mr Owusu-Agyeman, said the government, recognized that the provision of good drinking water contributed significantly to poverty reduction and touched on several water improvement projects being undertaken by the government and said it would, have by the close of the year, invested close to 600 million dollars in urban water systems alone.

Mr Owusu-Agyeman, commended the Dutch government, which he said, had since 1998 invested more than 150 million Euros in various water supply projects in the country.

He pledged the government's determination to improve water delivery and called on the management and staff of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) not to politicise water delivery and endeavour to be "imaginative and proactive", stressing that the company should use its internally generated funds to sink more boreholes to complement government efforts.

Mr David Kuijper, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Netherlands Embassy, noted that Ghana was the largest recipient of the ORIET/MILIEV, and also underscored the importance of potable water for effective poverty reduction, and expressed the hope that the project would be executed efficiently to increase water supply capacity to decrease the dependency on rainwater.

Mr Kuijper, called for enhanced environmental protection programmes to ensure improved sanitation and conservation of water sources. In an address read for him, the Managing Director of the GWCL, Mr Samuel Odartey-Lamptey, stressed the importance of the project and also commended the Dutch government for its support, and called for the support of all stakeholders to help ensure sustainable water supply. Feb 13, 06