Government has initiated processes for amendment of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) Act,1998 (Act 564) and transform it into a utility service organisation
A memo to that effect is already before cabinet for approval and subsequent submission to Parliament.
These were revealed at the opening of the 2019 Review Conference of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) being held in Fumesua in the Ashanti Region.
The four-day review conference is under the theme, “Steps towards a utility, service organisation: the success story, the challenges and the way forward.”
Expectations of the conference are;
- To evaluate the achievements and constraints related to the management of pipe water systems by CWSA (focus on water production and expenditure related to production and distribution of water).
- To document the lessons leanrt so far in respect of the policy reforms.
- To deliberate on innovative approaches in technology and finance to support WASH services improvement.
- To formulate strategies to consolidating the gains and scale-up towards the completion point of the reforms.
Stakeholders are expected at the end of the three-day session to fashion out a plan and strategies to adapt to propel the reform to achieve the SDG goals.
Chief Executive of CWSA, Worlanyo Siabi, believes this will reposition the CWSA for the sustainable delivery and management of water supply systems.
“One of the expected outcomes of the policy reforms is to transform CWSA into a utility service organisation, capable of efficiently delivering safe, reliable and affordable water, water-related sanitation and hygiene services to rural communities and small towns in Ghana.”
Sustainable Development Goal Six seeks to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation.
As at the end of 2018,13,510,255 rural and small-town populations out of 21,768,268 (representing 62.06 per cent) had access to safe water, according to 2019 report by CWSA.
It is worth noting that 8,254,013 people in rural communities and small towns, representing 37.94 percent are yet to be served with safe water.
Eleven years away from 2030 deadline of the SDGs, new investments and policy reforms are critical to transforming the Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) sub-sector.
Worlanyo Siabi, believes upgrading the agency to a utility service organisation is critical to achieving the targets.
“The Government of Ghana is making efforts to bridge this gap through support for the WASH sub-sector policy reforms, and the provision of financial resources for new investments.”
Meanwhile, the sector Ministry has developed a four-year plan and a budget christened ‘Water for All Agenda’.
In this plan, government intends to provide 300 small towns’ piped systems, 17,572 boreholes fitted with hand pumps and 1,228 limited mechanised systems across the country.
Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, says the Ministry is doing all in its power to secure funding and leverage partnerships to ensure the realisation of these targets which will fast-track the achievements of full coverage by 2030.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that there still exist about 37.92 percent of our rural folks who do not have access to safe water at all.
“To be able to meet the targets of SDG 6, we need to bridge the gap. Government is working tirelessly to support CWSA to fulfill this noble goal.”
Other government interventions
A $45.7million World Bank facility was injected as additional funding into the sustainable rural water and sanitation project which ended in 2016.
“So far the works have progressed according to expectation and it is projected that all works will be completed by December 2019, the official completion time for the project,” she added.
The Water Supply Improvement Project (WSIP), funded by the Spanish government at a cost of $3.78million and started in June 2018, is expected to be completed by December 2019.
In all, 18 piped water supply systems are expected to be constructed to serve 35 communities in four districts in the Volta region.
Mrs Dapaah revealed that the Rural Communities and Small Town Water Supply Project, a 30million Euros project to be financed by UK Export Finance and HSBC, was approved by Parliament in July 2019.
The beneficiary regions are Ashanti, Eastern, Greater Accra, Volta and Oti.