Accra water problems not over (Back page)

Water supply to some parts of Accra will not see any improvement soon if the erratic power supply to Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) treatment plant at Weija is not stabilised.
The problem is further compounded by obsolete equipment, some of which are between 20 and 60 years old.
The Accra West Production Manager of the Aqua Vitens Rand Limited (AVRL), Mr Michael Amuakwa, made this known when the board members and officials of the GWCL toured the Weija Dam.
Mr Amuakwa stated that in addressing the problem, there was the need to deal with the power supply to the plant as it remained a critical point for water production and distribution.
The smooth and cost-effective operation of the dam is further hampered by activities of encroachers and fishermen who pollute the dam, thereby increasing the cost of treating the dam astronomically.
He said beside increasing the treatment cost, the pollutants, especially plastic bags, usually choked the intake valve at the pumping station thereby reducing the rate at which water flowed into the reservoir for onward treatment.
He said the plant spilled out extra water in the dam because the Irrigation Development Authority (IDA) was not able to utilise its 65 per cent allocated it in the dam.
He, however, noted that management of the plant was in touch with the Water Resources Commission (WRC) to grant the dam extra appropriation, adding that when the request was granted, proposals would be sent to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to consider building an extra treatment plant at Weija to further augment water supply.
Mr Amuakwa called for an assessment of the structure and replacement of some of the obsolete parts to enhance its ability to operate and added that that would meet the production targets of the plant.
A member of the board, Alhaji Y. M. B. Ibrahima, said even though so much potable water was being produced, the populace were not feeling the impact.
He appealed to the AVRL to look more into the challenges of water distribution so that it could liaise with the GWCL to find an effective and lasting solution to the problem.
The acting Managing Director of the GWCL, Mr Mintah Aboagye, said plans were far advanced to find solutions to the water problem through the Urban Water Project, where extensive rehabilitation and extended distribution networks would be carried out throughout the country.
He added that even though the project had delayed for close to two years, it is expected to be completed by 2011.
Mr Aboagye said fencing of the dam to prevent encroachment and ultimately reduce pollution is ongoing.
The Board Chairperson, Mrs Hazel, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the tour had been an eye-opener, adding that knowing what was on the ground would go a long way towards influencing the policy directions and interventions needed to address the situation.
She said an immediate plan was to find a substantive MD for the GWCL who would lead the company in the right direction.
Responding to comments about the water distribution in the country, Mr Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, the General Communications Manager of the AVRL, said whenever severe shortages occurred, the company had to send its tankers to critical institutions such as the hospitals, schools making it difficult to provide tanker services at the domestic level.
He added that the company embarked on public education whenever there were planned power outages, adding that the unplanned power problems affected the delivery of water to severely affected areas.

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