The President Nana Akufo-Addo announces free water to the people of Ghana for the next 3 months. We must all know that one cannot offer for free what he doesn’t have. In the same way, one cannot enjoy a thing for free when it doesn’t exist. Indeed, from 2009, there was a conscious effort to ensure that water supply reaches the very people government serves wherever they are.
As a result, it was targeted that by 2025, which is just 5 years away, Ghana should be obtaining universal access to water. The speed with which the NDC administration between 2009 and 2016 embarked on water supply across the country, if we had maintained the same speed between 2017 and now, we would be reaching not less than 90% of our population, which would have given meaning to the offer of free water as many people would have access to potable water.
I would present some statistics here for the purposes of laying out the records. Do not be bored, but try and understand how these came about.
In the year 2001, when the Kufour administration took over, Ghana had an Urban Water Coverage of 56%. By the year 2008, the exit year of the Kufour and NPP administration, Urban Water Coverage was taken from 56% to 58.5% which means that for the entire 8 years of the Kufour and NPP administration, we have an increase in urban water supply by just 2.5%.
In the same period in 2001, Rural Water Coverage inherited by the Kufour administration stood at 41%. By close of 2008 when the NPP administration was leaving power, it stood at 56.8% indicating an increase of 15.8%. That was some effort. And I am a witness as my village was connected as part of this Rural Water Projects.
Between 2009 and 2015, I would present to you the figures and some projects that brought about the change we experienced. I am unable to obtain the figures by end of 2016 as that would have given a complete 8 year assessment.
However, I must present that the target of the NDC government between 2009 and 2016 was to supply some 109.7 million gallons of water per day by close of 2016. As of 2014, a total of 77.5 million gallons of water was added to the nation’s supply through projects completed. The target was to ensure that by close of 2016, some 85% of both Rural and Urban dwellers have access to potable water.
Between 2010 and 2015, some USD1 billion worth of investment was made into the water sector. The results are as follows:
Between 2009 and 2015, Urban Water Coverage was taken from 58.5% to 76%. This gives an indication of an increase in supply by 17.5% as compared to the 2.5% the NPP under Kufour did.
Rural Water Coverage by 2015, stood at another 76%, indicating an increase of 19%.
Some of the water projects undertaken under the NDC between 2009 and 2015 include:
Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project Phase 1. The first phase of the Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project supplies some 40 million gallons of water per day to 700,000 of our inhabitants in communities such as Adenta, Madina, Kwabenya, Ashongman, North, East and West Legon, Ashaley Botwe, Haatso, Boi, Asofaa, Dome, University of Ghana, Valley View University, University of Professional Studies-Accra, PRESEC- Legon, Bawaleshie, Adjirigano and Pantang.
Kpong Intake Rehabilitation Project supplies water to communities such as Dodowa, Ahwerase, Aburi, Gyankama, Peduase, Kitase, Berekuso, Akwamufie, Mangoase, New Senchi, Akrade, Senchi, Domeabra, Lolonyo, Agomanya, Manya Kpongunor, Odumasi, Menekpo, Sra, Sawe and Ogome (all in the Eastern Region).
Teshie-Nungua Desalination Water Project the first ever project of its kind in West Africa which has turned sea water into usable household water, supplies some 13.2 million gallons of water per day to about half a million people in the following areas – Teshie, Nungua, the Teshie Military barracks, Batsoona, Sakumono and parts of LaDadekotopon.
Five Towns Water Supply Projects in Kyebi, Osenase, Anyinam, Apedwa and Kwabeng were completed which adds about 1.5 million gallons of water for use in the communities mentioned.
The NDC Government also added a total of 14 million gallons of water per day to the national water stock through the following projects:
• Kwahu Ridge Water Supply project
• Kumawu Water Supply Project
• Konongo Water Supply Project
• Kumasi Water Supply Project (Barekese Expansion)
• Asante Mampong Water Supply Project
As at 2015, work was ongoing to improve and extend water in these areas:
• Nsawam Water Supply Project
• Essakyir Water Supply Project
Other projects included:
• Akim-Oda-Akwatia-Winneba Water Supply Project – 10.4 million gallons per day
• Wa Water Supply Project – 3.3 million gallons per day
• North Tongu and Adaklu Anyigbe Water Supply Scheme – 1.1 million gallons per day
• Interconnection of Sekyere-Hemang Water Treatment Plant to the Sekondi-Takoradi Water Supply System and the Aboadze Thermal Plant
• Additional Works For Kumasi Water Supply Expansion Project
• US$ 170 million Urban Water Project to rehabilitate 20 water supply systems in 8 Regions
There were several other peri-urban, rural and small town water and sanitation projects which were being undertaken as at 2015 across the country, which were expected to improve on water supply to our people.
• Government of Ghana 5-year 20,000 Borehole Programme.
• Peri-urban, Rural and Small town water and sanitation project in the Brong Ahafo Region
• Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project (SRWSP) – this project covers the Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Brong-Ahafo, Central and Western Regions.
• Koica-Krachi East and West Water and Sanitation Project
• Northern Region Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project
• Akrokeri Piped Water Supply Project
With the speed at which the NDC administration was expanding access to potable water, it would be important to ask the percentage increase added by the Akufo-Addo NPP administration and to ascertain whether the vision to ensure universal access to potable water by 2025 is in place or abandoned.
Today, as government tells us that it has decided to provide free water to Ghanaians for the next 3 months, inasmuch as we are expected to applaud the government, could we not be more proud if government had ensured that access to water is provided to every Ghanaian and that access to this basis service is without struggle?
Today, we still have many communities, and households in both Urban and Rural areas without access to water. Some have not been connected at all while others are consistently visited with water rationing without announcements.
The choice to praise, and the choice to be critical of government’s interventions, are left to us the citizens. I chose to be among the critical population who would rather examine the impact of improved government efforts in doing what it ought to have done before proceeding to offer same for free. If it exists for everyone without a struggle, I would join in sinking the praises of the government that made it easily accessible by all.