Stakeholders Demand Further Reduction In Water Tariffs

WaterAid Ghana, the Coalition of NGOs on Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and the Ghana Water and Sanitation Journalists Network (GWJN) are jointly appealing to Government to further reducing tariffs on water considerably to avoid its undesirable implications on health and the general wellbeing of all, especially of marginalized people living with low incomes.

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Portable drinking water
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The group pointed out that Ghana is currently, one of the countries that have exceeded the Millennium Development Goal MDG on water with over 87% coverage. Yet more than 3,000,000 people still lacking access to safe water there is a lot more to be done.

Portable drinking water
water

The appeal was contained in a joint statement signed by WaterAid and its Partners. It stated further that the Government of Ghana has taken the initiative to change this situation with its bold plan to realize universal access to water by 2025.

“WaterAid and Partners believe government’s initiative to realize universal access to clean and potable water by 2025 was laudable and feasible to achieve. However, it will take the government prioritizing the allocation of resources to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors and ensuring that they are disbursed in a timely and predictable manner, adequate to the task and in the appropriate amount” it explained.

The group claimed that the proposed increases in tariffs were likely to have negative implications. Such increases may discourage the practice of good hygiene behaviour like hand washing at critical times, if people cannot afford to buy water.

Again it will negatively affect the health care system as health authorities will be compel to compromise the health of their clients by resorting to the use of unsafe water. The statement added.

“Especially in the context of other tariff increases on electricity and fuel, we, WaterAid Ghana, CONIWAS and GWJN, consider the intended increases in water tariffs as inimical to the Government of Ghana’s own stated objectives” the group opined.

It went further to explain that an increase in electricity tariff will also increase the operation cost of small-town water systems in many rural and small towns. Poor and marginalized people find it difficult to buy water.

WaterAid and its partners therefore, proposed that Ghana Water Company (GWCL) should pay more attention to addressing the challenges that diminish its revenue such as broken/ leaking pipe lines and water theft which cost the GWCL about 12 million cedis monthly.

“We appreciate the need to raise more revenue to support and sustain the provision of water. However, we are of the view that a more efficient GWCL can support government’s goal of universal access by 2025 and ensure everyone has adequate water for their domestic and economic use” the group lamented.

Source:  FRANKLIN ASARE-DONKOH

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