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Making water and housing available to populace

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Inadequate supply of the potable water calls for the injection of efficiency into the system to avoid the estimated loss of 40 per cent of treated water.
Inadequate supply of the potable water calls for the injection of efficiency into the system to avoid the estimated loss of 40 per cent of treated water.
Inadequate supply of the potable water calls for the injection of efficiency into the system to avoid the estimated loss of 40 per cent of treated water.
Inadequate supply of the potable water calls for the injection of efficiency into the system to avoid the estimated loss of 40 per cent of treated water.

Water and shelter are key necessities of man, in fact every woman, man, youth and child has the basic right to secure a ?place to live, access safe drinking water and sanitation which are explicitly set out in the universal declaration of human rights. Therefore, the strategic role of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing in formulating policies and guidelines in this direction cannot be underestimated.

The ministry in recent times has embarked on major interventions in respect of the provision of water supply and housing to support the development drive of the country. ?Urban and Rural water delivery is estimated at 63.4 and 64 per cent respectively. ?Urban centres such as Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi/Takoradi and Tamale obtain their source of water from the Ghana Water Company (GWCL), while rural and some peri-urban centres, for example Adakulu/Anyigbe, also extract their daily water demand from the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA).

The gains made so far include the significant improvement in the urban water delivery despite the estimated 40 per cent losses in production which authorities of Ghana Water Company Limited believe with the injection of more efficiency in the system the target of attaining 100 per cent coverage by 2025 will be achieved.

Currently, some flagship projects are being rolled out to meet increased demand for water supply. ?These include the U$273m Kpong water supply and expansion project, being carried out with funding from the government of Ghana and China Exim Bank. The project, analyst believe, is one single biggest project after the Bui Dam. ?It is expected to be completed in December this year (2014) and will improve and deliver water to communities such as Adentan, Madina, Kwabenya, Ashongman, North, East, West legon, Dome, Ashaley Botwe and surrounding areas, which for some years lack safe and reliable water.

Another significant project is the Teshie-Nungua desalination facility. ?This involves the treatment of sea water at Teshie to produce 13.2 million gallons of water daily to serve an estimated 500,000 people in and around Nungua, Teshie, Burma Camp, Baatsona, Sakumono and parts of Ladadekotopon municipality. As has been the practice elsewhere in Isabel and some countries, the treatment of sea water for human consumption is not new and we will plead with residents in and around these communities to support the initiative.

It will also be recalled that the sector Minister, Alhaji Collins Dauda, in April this year inspected works on the completion of the 11 million Euro Nsawam water project phase I in the Eastern Region. ?It is on record that this project will provide Water across Nsawam to some part of the Greater Accra Region, namely Amasaman, Pokuase, Tantra Hill, Dobro, Medie, Nkunfusa, Pobi, Asaawa, Agban No 1, Bebron, Sarpeiman, Adjin Kotoku and Ofankor.

Another strategic project in the Eastern Region is the five-town water supply system. This project involves the construction of packaged water treatment plant and it is serving the people of Kibi, Kwabeng, Apedwa, Anyinam and Osenase. ?It was inaugurated by ?President John Dramani Mahama in March, 2014. ?The 8 million Euro project will not only serve the five towns mentioned above but also surrounding communities will benefit.

The last quarter of year 2013 also witnessed the sod cutting of a new project christened ?Wa Water Supply Project? estimated at 39 million Euro. ?The Wa Water Supply Project will produce 3.3 million gallons of water daily from the Black Volta to serve communities such as?University

of Development Studies, (UDS) Campus, Tamgoasi, Kona, Gilo, Pase, Dorimon, Boro, Boli, Chaira Kolongo and Kperisi, among others. ?It is therefore important to note that the Upper West Region, which has largely depended on ground water with about 18 boreholes, will from 2016 heave a sigh of relief.

I am particularly enthused to know that with the current interventions in the water sector and the subsequent investment programmes under the Urban Water Project, efforts are being made to improve on a prioritised basis, the physical condition and capacities of 20 or more urban systems in the country, namely Agona, New Edubiase, Berekum, Breman Asikuma, Akim Oda, Bogoso, Elubo, Axim, Aboso, Tamale, Bawku, Navrongo, Prestea, just to mention a few.

Other Water Projects in motion are: The popular 3Ks namely: Kumawu, Kwahu Ridge and Konongo Water Supply projects to provide 3.5, 3.6 and 3.5 million gallons of water per day to inhabitants in these areas.

There is also the Essakyir Water Project in the Central Region to serve Communities including Ekumfi, Otuam, Mamford, Abeka and Esuehyia. ?Other planned Urban Water Supply Projects include Agordome Water Supply Project, Domango, Sekondi-Takoradi, Essiama Enclave, Yendi, Salaga and a host of others.

Another significant area of the ministry is the Housing Sector. ?The ministry has for many years faced the challenge of financing in this sector. ?In spite of this challenge, it is poised to deliver with the support of the Private Sector through Public Private Partnership.

In this regard, the ministry, in 2013, partnered OAS Constotora of Brazil to commence the construction of 5,000 houses. The project is underway at Saglemi in the Ningo Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region. It is expected that upon completion in 2, 3 and 4-year periods, the initiative will be replicated in other regions of the country.

Also in mind is the Government of Ghana Affordable Housing Project which began six years ago with about 427 housing units dotted across five regions, namely: Tamale, Wa, Asokore Mampong, Koforidua, Borteyman and Kpong. ?It will be recalled that in April this year, the housing units at Borteyman was handed over to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, (SSNIT) to be completed within 18 months.

It is the conviction of the ministry that these major projects on stream will support the Ghanaian populace who are in dire need of accommodation and are mainly of the low to middle income bracket.

Agu Resources and Sethi Reality are local private developers and their desire is to support government to deliver houses. ?In this connection, the two are providing 20,000 housing units, 10,000 each on a Public Private Partnership arrangement with the ministry. Currently, 5,000 houses by Sethi Reality is in progress at Kpone with Agu Resources yet to take off.

This notwithstanding, the ministry on a daily basis receives not less than 20 proposals expressing interest in the housing sector and the ministry is working around the clock to ensure due diligence of all to guarantee the nation?s interest and provide safe and affordable houses for the citizenry.

Examples of such groups include Addoha of Morocco, Commonwealth Secretariat of UK, Red Sea Housing and others who have called on the ministry for support in terms of tax waivers including Devtracco a member of Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA).

It is welcoming and evident in the steps taken by the ministry to ensure that every individual or groups of persons get access to safe, reliable and affordable water and housing. These two components are critical for human existence, but we also recognise that we cannot do it alone, hence the call on all and sundry to support the ministry through the Ghana Water Company Limited and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency to maintain its water facilities to guarantee sustenance.

On another note, issues of Galamsey operations continue to threaten many water bodies. ?The question then is: What is next? ?Do we look on for these Galamseyers to destroy all our water bodies?

I suggest we work together as Ghanaians to curb the menace. The ministry also welcomes investment in the housing sector to help in its quest to provide decent, social or affordable

The writer Abraham Otabil

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