Business News of 2014-08-15

Water leakage hampers distribution and access

It is said that water is life and that is why any effort to make it safe and accessible to all should be applauded. However, for many Ghanaians, having access to safe drinking water seems rather unlikely.
Over the past years, successive governments through the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and donor partners have made efforts at improving safe water supply to the people of Ghana through various means, including sending water to consumers through water tanker services.
In addition, sometime ago, the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, piloted a community water storage tank service in certain parts of Accra in a bid to reach the communities with treated water.
As a matter of fact, even though lately the Ghana Water Company Limited is rationing water in most cities as a means to cover a large number of people, ironically, a huge percentage of treated water goes waste, resulting in huge costs to the nation.
Water losses
Much of the water that goes waste is as a result of damaged pipelines mostly due to building works, erosion and construction of access roads in communities. In 2006, a survey conducted by the College of Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) into water distribution in Ghana showed that the Ghana Water Company Limited lost about 49 per cent of the amount of water it produced that year.
In 2004 and 2005, losses of 56 per cent and 45 per cent respectively were recorded. According to the survey, the acceptable range for water loss is between 15 and 25 per cent. It said the excessive loss of water was due to the use of pipelines which were laid many years ago and that had developed many leaks on them.
Cost recovery
But regardless of that, in September 2013, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced a 52 per cent increase in water tariff to enable the providers to recover cost.
Meanwhile, in the survey report, about 40 per cent of treated water meant for domestic use could not be accounted for due to illegal connections and wastage resulting from burst pipelines. These are some of the challenges that the GWCL has faced in the last 10 years and more.
A rather disturbing phenomenon has been the slow rate at which the GWCL responds to reports drawing its attention to burst pipelines and damaged hydrants.
To avert losses, it is recommended that the GWCL put in place measures that will ensure that treated water, produced at so much cost to the nation reached targeted consumers. Moreover, GWCL ought to put in place systematic plans of action to improve service delivery and reduce technical and commercial losses.
There should be, for instance, a leakage control policy that will ensure that the company gets the necessary resources to monitor leakages and improve communication with consumers in order to help check the wastage of water.
Source: graphic.com
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