Home » Water Crisis in Ghana: How Illegal Connections and Underpayment Threaten the Nation’s Supply

Water Crisis in Ghana: How Illegal Connections and Underpayment Threaten the Nation’s Supply

GWCL appeals for support from government and customers to address the problem

by Motoni Olodun

Ghana faces a water crisis as illegal connections and underpayment of water bills are depriving the national utility of revenue and affecting its ability to provide safe and reliable water to millions. According to the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), the Brong Ahafo Region tops the offenders list, with over 70% of customers either not paying their bills or using unauthorized connections. This has resulted in huge losses for the company, struggling to maintain its infrastructure and expand its services.

The GWCL says it needs about 1.5 billion Ghanaian cedis (about $260 million) annually to operate and invest in its network, but it only collects about 900 million cedis (about $156 million) from its customers. The rest of the money comes from government subsidies and donor support, insufficient to cover the gap. The company also faces challenges such as vandalism, theft, illegal mining, pollution, climate change, and population growth, which pressure its water sources and distribution systems.

The water crisis in Ghana is not unique. Many African countries are grappling with similar issues of inadequate water supply and sanitation, especially in urban areas with high demand and poor infrastructure. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 59% of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa had access to safely managed drinking water services in 2020, compared to 93% in North Africa and 98% in Europe. The lack of safe water and sanitation poses serious health risks, such as diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid, which can be fatal for children and vulnerable groups.

The Ghanaian government has recognized the urgency of addressing the water crisis and has launched several initiatives to improve the situation. For example, it has declared 2021 as the “Year of Water” and has allocated 1.9 billion cedis (about $330 million) for water projects across the country. It has also partnered with development agencies, such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and UNICEF, to implement various programs to increase access to water and sanitation, especially for low-income households and rural communities. Additionally, it has introduced measures to curb illegal connections and enforce payment of water bills, such as installing prepaid meters, conducting audits, and prosecuting offenders.

However, these efforts alone are not enough to solve the problem. The GWCL says it needs more support from the government and other stakeholders to sustain its operations and meet its targets. It also appeals to its customers to pay their bills promptly and report any illegal connections or leakages they encounter. Moreover, it urges the public to use water wisely and conserve it as much as possible, especially during the dry season when water levels are low.

The water crisis in Ghana is a serious challenge that requires collective action and responsibility from all sectors of society. By working together, Ghanaians can ensure everyone has access to safe and sufficient water, which is essential for human health, dignity, and development.

Source: GhanaWeb

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