EU, others partner GWCL to provide excellent water quality

Ghana’s water quality is expected to improve tremendously in the next three years following the implementation of a project partnership agreement led by the European-Union to build capacity in quality monitoring and surveillance in water delivery. The project valued at 1,615,730 Euros, will improve the independence of the country’s water quality control maximally and make Ghana a hub where the project success is expected to be scaled-up and replicated within other African countries, especially the West African sub-region. Among the deliverables, the project will develop a water control organisation that can act independently from the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to allow for sustainable operation of quality control programmes. At a project-kick-off meeting in Accra on Monday, Mr Kwaku Dovlo, Deputy Managing Director, GWCL, described the project and its partnership arrangement as a milestone achievement that would transform the delivery of water to both domestic and commercial users. “We (GWCL) are very much excited about this opportunity to improve our water quality, monitoring and surveillance, more especially because water is critical to improving the health of the people,” Mr Dovlo said. Many countries in Africa are facing similar problems as Ghana’s water services sector and the EU say, the need and potential to replicate the country’s success in other countries is high. Ghana’s proposal to the EU financing entity, according to Herve Delsol of the EU Mission Ghana, stood tall among several that were submitted for consideration for the project that was launched a year and half years ago. He said the EU's stake is 75 per cent in the project with funds from the European Investment Fund and called on other partners – the GWCL, International Water Association and Vitens-Evides International (VEI), to fully commit their services as well ensure the project success. Marcos Schouten of the VEI, a Netherlands organisation that supports local water companies in developing countries, stressed the need to manage trust in the provision of water quality by making sure that people who use water believe that the service they enjoy is good and of most excellent quality. He said as providers of quality water, “we should ensure that anytime the mother opens the tap she is assured of the quality of the water that flows. With the partners we have in the project, it should be possible to provide trust and build on it at all times.” Tom Williams, IWA, a global network of water professionals, called for the need to engender the feeling of public health and safety within organisations that provide essential services like water. The role of communication in the water quality issues, he noted, should not be underestimated in order to raise the needed public awareness. Simon In’t Veld, the Project Manager, said the project activities include the upgrading of the country’s water delivery systems and equipping laboratories with the latest technologies in regional capital such as Accra and Kumasi. Water laboratories in the country, according to Mr Jonas Jabulo of the GWCL, are not certified; hence their results could not be branded but assured that the project after completion would make that possible. The level of pollution in Ghana’s water bodies are high and experts say it requires some new technologies to identify the contaminants in order to deal with them appropriately. It is expected that the demonstrated successes of the project would trigger sector-wide interest and motivate other regions of the country to also get involve. The Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing; Water Resources Commission and the Public Utility Regulatory Commission are strong partners of the sector-wide exchange in quality monitoring and control in the country. VEI and IWA, which are contributing 164.730 Euros and 25,000 Euros respectively toward the project, intend to continue their relation with the GWCL and other local partners after the project end to ensure that local expertise draw on their good advice and practices. The GWCL is providing 130,000 Euros of the total project cost.