The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has called on the government to swiftly step up its coordination efforts to ensure that there is equity in the supply of safe water to all and sundry in the country.
Since it is the fundamental right of every human being to be provided access to clean drinking water.
According to CONIWAS, in respect of water supply in Ghana, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MIC 2017/18) report by the Ghana Statistical Service, there are vast inequalities between the rich and the poor, between urban and rural communities, between administrative regions, and between the educated and uneducated.
The snapshot of the MICS report, also reveals that the rich person in Ghana is 46% more likely to have access to improved sources of drinking water than the poor.
The report further indicates that, whereas 98% of people living in the Greater Accra Region have access to improved basic water supply services, only 50 % of people in the Northern Region for instance (including Savanna and North East Regions) have access to improved basic water supply services, leaving whooping gap of 48% between the two regions.
The Vice-Chairman of Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) Mr. Attah Arhin, who made this revelation during media engagement in Accra, also stressed that it will take a deliberate government program of action to correct these inequalities.
These inequalities in resource allocation for water supply further entrench poverty among the poor since they are compelled to spend more time fetching water than their richer counterparts.
This means that as a country we have not adequately developed a mechanism to protect the poor and people living in low income communities from using unimproved drinking water sources.
CONIWAS has however, noticed that if there is no deliberate government intention, backed by real action to balance the current inequalities in water supply, numerous people in Ghana, particularly the poor and vulnerable will sadly be left behind.
According to him, this year’s World Water Day which has been themed: “Leaving no one behind” adapts the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable Development that as sustainable development progress, everyone must benefit.
“CONIWAS is of the view that a country we cannot allow background circumstances, income or educational levels to determine who drinks water from improved or contaminated sources.
Under the Directive Principles of State Policy contained in 1992 Republican constitution, the state is enjoined to promote just and reasonable access by all citizens to public facilities and services in accordance with law, “
CONIWAS believes that improved coordination of drinking water supply services by government and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies, can help balance or at least reduce the levels of inequality in Ghana.
The country’s National Water policy already commits Government to delivering services in a manner that ensures that the fundamental right of all people to safe and adequate water to meet basic needs’ without discrimination is adhered to.
As a matter of urgency CONIWAS therefore call on government to:
• Increase financial allocation to drinking water supply and ensuring that investment made from such funds prioritize the needs of the poor and vulnerable in order to close the inequality gap;
• Be guided by the fact access to basic drinking water is fundamental human right, which is duly acknowledged by the National Water Policy; and
• Strengthen all Ministries to be able to coordinate and appropriately direct resource allocations government.
World Water Day is an international event held every March 22.The observance seeks to remind nations about the use of water, preservation of water bodies, provide an opportunity to learn more about water-related issues and take action on any current or future challenge to make a difference.
Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh