Head of Surface Water Division at the Water Research Institute says government must improve on logistics in the water supply chain, if its absorption of bills is to achieve its purpose.
According to Dr Emmanuel Bekoe, even though Ghana has enough water to follow through with the announcement, it is necessary to build more infrastructure and facilities to beef up production of water across the country in the time of Covid-19 pandemic.
President Akufo-Addo in his televised address to the nation on Sunday announced that government will absorb the cost of water for all Ghanaians for the months of April, May and June, to mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus on citizens.
But speaking on Upfront on JoyNews Wednesday, the Senior Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, stated that government must channel some of its energy towards upgrading the age-old infrastructure which he believes, is critical to the delivery of safe water to the populace.
Dr Bekoe said despite the abundance of natural water sources, “we don’t have the means, the logistics to actually convert the resource through the infrastructure into people’s homes. That is where the issue is.”
“These developments were put up years back, during independence and whatnot. We should have done some more developments on some of these things. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to… and the developments have taken over,” he said.
Dr Emmanuel Bekoe, however, called on the government to explore other alternatives such as private water delivery services to augment the effort to make water accessible to all Ghanaians.
Estimating the reach of water in the country to be between 80% and 84%, he advised that non-governmental entities are best-placed to help complement the Ghana Water Company Limited as well as the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, to fulfill the commitment.
“We have the private tanker services and individual, KIA trucks among other privately-owned systems that make water more accessible… Most people have now gone into borehole drilling in their homes which is also alleviating some of these hardships presently.”
Dr Bekoe also demanded that government engages private water tanker operators to rope them into its agenda to provide free water to the citizenry.
According to Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Michael Dzato, his outfit is in talks with the private operators to help convey water to hard-to-reach communities.
Government has said it will supply some tanks in remote areas to help them store the water, a situation the tanker drivers have demanded to accelerate their work if they are to help government in this time of crisis.
But Mr Dzato revealed these tanks are not ready.
“We are saying that they should supply immediately. While they do the small supplies, we will get back to them,” he said.
He cited procurement issued as a factor for the delay in acquiring the tanks calling on the operators to bear with the Ministry for now, over the pending “exigencies”.
He also encouraged the citizenry to employ water conservation mechanism to ensure the ample distribution of the resource to all Ghanaians.