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12.03.2006 General News

UWP would improve urban water supply


Accra, March 12, GNA - The Urban Water Project (UWP) is aimed at improving water supply in some urban areas and regions through optimal investment, management and delivery of water through public-private partnership.

Mr Michael Agyeman, Chief Public Relations Manager of the Ghana Water Company (GWC), who made this observation, said the five-year programme was estimated at 120 million dollars.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Agyeman, stated that the UWP was being funded by the World Bank, which is the major contributor with 103 million dollars, 12 million dollars from the Nordic Development Fund and Ghana Government, 5 million dollars. He explained that under the project as part of reforms in the country's Urban Water Sector, GWC, the grantor, has signed a Management Contract with a Company, Vitens Rand Water Services, from the Netherlands through its subsidiary, Aqua Vitra Limited.

The Chief Manager said the subsidiary would manage and operate urban water systems to meet set targets for a fixed fee. Mr Agyeman stated that the operator would have access to GWC's assets, which it could not sell but would remain the property of Ghanaians through GWC.

"Ownership of the raw water to be treated by the operator also remains with the people of Ghana, through the Water Resources Commission."

Mr Agyeman said that apart from increasing and improving access to piped water systems in urban areas, it would make the commodity affordable and reliable to the urban poor, restore long-term financial stability, viability and sustainability of GWC.

The programme, he said, had four components, namely, System Expansion and Rehabilitation; Public-Private Partnership Development; Capacity-Building and Project Management and Severance Programme. Mr Agyeman explained that the System Expansion and Rehabilitation component was to support and increase the amount of treated water for sale.

It would also extend service to low income areas and rehabilitate the existing network to reduce non-revenue water. Under the Capacity Building and Project Management, the Chief Manager stated that they included training of seconded staff and technical assistance.

He said the Public-Private Partnership Development component would support the payment of the operator under the Management Contract, as well as pay the Technical and Financial Auditors to measure the Operator's performance. 12 March 06