Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DON'T CHARGE EXHORBITANT FEES...Minister urges Community Water Boards (PAGE 35, NOV 5)

THE Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Albert Abongo, has called on the various Community Water Boards across the country not to charge exorbitant fees since the Government’s decision to provide rural communities with clean and potable water was not for profit purposes.
According to him, water is a basic necessity of life which must be accessible and affordable to all.
“Anything short of that would let the people, especially rural dwellers to resort to unhygienic sources which have implications for their health and also affect the government’s resolve to eradicate guineaworm in the country,” he stressed.
Mr Abongo made the call when he met with Nananom and members of the Community Water Boards at Nchiraa and Aworowa in the Wenchi and Techiman municipalities as part of his working visit to inspect ongoing water supply systems and facilities in the Brong Ahafo Region.
He stated that the fees to be collected by the boards were for the effective management and maintenance of the water supply systems in their communities and not for profit making.
The minister also inspected the ongoing construction works on the Nchiraa, Nwoase and Aworowa-Akrofoum water supply systems under the Government’s Small Town Water Supply System Project for rural communities in the region, which is being executed by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA).
Nchiaa and Nwoase all in the Wenchi Municipality are to benefit from the construction of 33,000 and 22,000 gallons capacities overhead and underground surface water tanks, respectively, while Aworowa-Akrofoum in the Techiman municipality would also enjoy the same facility which were all scheduled for completion by end of the year.
Mr Abongo said he chose the Brong Ahafo region for the tour to inspect projects under the water sector of the ministry because the region had the most organised Community Water Boards in the country as well as the largest beneficiary of CWSA projects in the water and sanitation sectors since 1994.
During his interaction with Nananom and the water boards, Mr Abongo stated that the government had made available Gh¢30 million for the provision of clean and potable water in rural communities across the country this year as a means of reducing the health bill of the nation and also other water borne related diseases.
The amount, he said, was to support the CWSA to provide 1,010 boreholes in rural communities nationwide by the close of the year.
Mr Abongo stated that water was basic and therefore, the Government found it crucial to provide water to all, especially rural communities where people drank from unhygienic sources.
He expressed his satisfaction at the pace of work on the various projects and urged the contractors to complete them on schedule.
The minister further advised the water boards to always account for their stewardship to Nananom and the people any time they made such request since those facilities were owned by the entire community and the chiefs were there to ensure their effective management.
In response to an appeal by the Akwamuhene of Nchiraa, Nana Kwesi Wuna and the Techiman Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Alex Kyeremeh that the beneficiary communities were made to provide 10 per cent funding, Mr Abongo said the Government had ordered the abolition of the counterpart funding paid by the communities for the execution of the projects, because it had been a burden on the people.
He stressed that as water was basic necessity of life, nobody should play politics with it.
Mr Abongo, however, gave the assurance that the Government would ensure that all communities in the country were provided with clean water to improve the health status of the people.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Engineer of the CWSA, Mr Francis Kwasi Enu, who accompanied the minister on the tour, said the total cost of the project for the two communities, namely Nchiraa and Nwoase, involving the construction of 33,000 gallons and 22,000 gallons overhead and underground surface tanks, respectively with three boreholes at Nchiraa to pump the water to Nwoase, was Gh¢2 million.
He said the projects were scheduled to be completed by December, this year.
Mr Enu added that 22 standpipes would be provided and other lines for private extension and the two projects would serve a total population of 11, 000.
Earlier in the day, Mr Abongo addressed a durbar of management and staff of the Ghana Water Company at Sunyani where he gave the assurance that the Government was accessing funds to improve the systems for water delivery in the urban areas.

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