Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Dr Hanna Bisiw has warned the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) not to use the “lack of resources syndrome” as an excuse to justify its failure to provide water and sanitation facilities to rural communities.

She was unhappy that almost every public sector organization was attributing its failure to deliver to the lack of resources syndrome, saying that while it was equally true that there would be budgetary constraints, it was in the face of such challenges that agencies and organizations should demonstrate their ingenuity and capacity to improvise.

Dr Bisiw was addressing the 2009 Annual Review Conference of the CWSA on the theme: “Monitoring and evaluating for sustainable delivery of water and sanitation and hygiene promotion” in Tamale on Wednesday.

“A good leader is one who is able to solve critical problems in the face of major constraints. I am therefore expecting to see the demonstration of your creative and innovative abilities by coming up with solutions to the problems that militate against the sustainability of facilities”, she charged.

The Deputy Minister also charged the CWSA to play the leadership role in the sustainability of water and sanitation facilities that had been funded by the government and other development partners.

She noted that although beneficiary communities had the responsibility of operating and maintaining the systems put in place, the CWSA as a public entity with the mandate of facilitating the provision of sustainable safe water and sanitation facilities to rural communities had to play the leadership role in maintaining such facilities.

“I would like to state that the time has come for us to do away with the thinking that we in Ghana do not have a culture of maintenance, she said.

Dr Bisiw added that “we must strive to demonstrate that we know and understand the essence and critical role that maintenance plays with respect to the sustainability of any infrastructural development”.

She stressed the important role that monitoring and evaluation played in ensuring the sustainability of facilities and accordingly charged the Management of CWSA to come up with measures that would enable the Agency carry out effective monitoring and evaluation of completed and on-going projects at minimum cost.

Mr Clement Bugase, Chief Executive of the CWSA, said financial constraints facing the Agency had affected its progress over the years and appealed to the sector Ministry to take up the matter to ensure adequate funding for the Agency.

He said during the year under review, the CWSA carried out a number of projects which included the construction of a total of 588 boreholes installed with pumps and the construction of 3,311 household VIP latrines, adding that a further 323 schools and institutional latrines were also completed.

According to him, the construction of a new regional Office of the Agency in Takoradi with support from the European Union under the Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project for the Western and Central regions was on-going.

“Plans were also far advanced for the construction of a new office premises for the Brong Ahafo Region at Sunyani with financial assistance from the Agence Francaise de Developement (AFD) under the Peri-Urban, Rural and Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Project in the region.

Mr Bugase said as a result of the steady progress made during the year under review and previous years, the national coverage for rural water supply in the country now stood at 58.97 percent.

Alhaji Haruna Friday, Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive, said some 770,000 rural and peri-urban populations in the Northern Region do not have safe drinking water.

He said it was the priority of the government to provide safe drinking water for all communities to curb the incidence of water borne diseases like guinea worm.

Source: GNA