US$60m required annually to revamp Accra, Tema water systems
The Ghana Water Company Limited(GWCL) would require US$60m annually to undertake major system upgrades in the Accra and Tema metropolis alone, Maxwell Akosah-Kusi, a distribution engineer at the company has revealed.
"To do all the various changes and distribution network and all of that, we will require an average of US$60m a year of investment, that is just Accra and Tema, so the whole country put together we are talking about huge sums of money," he told B&FT in an interview at the opening of the 77th Africa Water Association (AFWA) Scientific & Technical Council Session in Accra.
These reforms forms part of GWCL's vision of universal coverage by 2025 where they intend to become a world class utility.
Mr Akosah-Kusi, who delivered a presentation on GWCL's journey of transformation, indicated that the current reforms begun in the 1990's.
He also explained that the Performance Improvement Programme consists of improvement in production, revenue generation, non-revenue-water, cost optimization (reducing cost while maintaining standards), customer care, ICT and innovation, monitoring and evaluation.
GWCL has already introduced the e-billing system which is also expected to accelerate the reform process, as well as the introduction of smart metering by 2025.
For the future, GWCL also plans to expand capacity by increasing water production to 350million cubic of water and a targeted production down time of 24hrs per month.
On the sources of funding, he stated that: "A key partner in all of this has been the World Bank; they are supporting us and they continue to support us. When we are able to bill more to get more money, then we can have more money to do some of these projects.
According to the Water Sector Strategic Plan, by 2025, we must achieve universal coverage, so that is what we are working towards. It's a vision, we are hoping we will be able to attain it," he added.
Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Joseph Kofi Adda, underscored the fact access to basic sanitation lagged far behind, with coverage rate of 15% as against an MDG target of 54%.
The minister also added that the issue of the management of solid waste remains a huge challenge for the country.
"In the face of population growth, these disparities need to be addressed if Ghana is to achieve her sector target of Sanitation and water for all by 2025 and SDG-6 by 2030.
The realisation of this requires concerted effort by all stakeholders and it is on this note that I commend AFWA for bringing all these experts gathered here to brainstorm on how we can collectively achieve our SDG targets, Ghana and Africa at large."
AFWA is a professional association of institutions and individuals in the water and sanitation industry.
Mr Clifford Braimah, the MD of GWCL, also disclosed that the company has set up Low Income Consumer Unit to take care of the low-income areas of urban centres, adding that the company will continue to focus on customers first in its operations.