12.05.2005 General News

Workshop on water supply opens

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Accra, May 12, GNA - The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) said on Thursday that it would continue to apply various non-tariff measures to ensure that utility companies step up their service delivery to commensurate with the level of tariffs charge on consumers.

Mr Stephen Adu, Executive Secretary of the PURC said emphasising on issues such as quality, reliability and accessibility of service were key to keeping utility companies to render quality service to their clients.

"It is in this connection that PURC has since 2003 been focusing on non-tariff issues to address quality of service and consumer related concerns," he said.

Mr Adu was speaking at a workshop to improve water supply to consumers on the theme: "Building Partnerships to Improve Water Supply." Participants from Government Agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations and the Utility Companies as well as academia are attending the workshop.

Touching on the PURC regulatory Social Policy, Mr Adu said the Commission would support any intervention that resulted in improved and more reliable access to water as well as instruct urban water utilities to include pro-poor criteria when they undertook investment in water supply projects.

Besides PURC would institute appropriate mechanism to regulate the quality of water supplied by secondary suppliers and set a lifeline tariff to reflect affordability.

He expressed the hope that collaboration with key institutions such as the Ghana Water Company Limited, Water Resources Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Water Aid, among other groups, would provide PURC useful information for both regulatory and operations to ensure delivery of quality affordable water supply service for Ghana. Mr Issa Ketekewu, Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, said government was using an integrated approach to curb the wide gap between the supply and demand for water.

He said some private sector operators had taken advantage of the situation and were ripping off the population through exorbitant prices by installing illegal pumps to draw water from the system. Mr Ketekewu urged the private sector operators to double efforts to explore avenues for their water sources instead of reliance on government.

Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Commissioner, PURC, asked the other stakeholder agencies not to view the non-regulatory responses of the Commission as usurpation of their roles but as a useful complement to address some of the service problems of the poor and vulnerable. The PURC is an independent body established by an Act of Parliament (PURC Act 1997) to oversee the provision of utility services in the country.

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