In a bid to deal with the issue of illegal water connection, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has hinted of plans for house-to-house water audit to be carried out on all households in the country.
The move, she said, would also ensure value for money as the increasing rate of illegal water connection for domestic purposes is seriously impacting on the revenue of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the government.
Speaking at the Minister’s Press Briefing organised by the Information Ministry on Monday, Mrs Cecilia Dapaah narrated an incident of illegal connection at East Legon where the defaulter had denied the entire area of water.
“Just yesterday (Sunday), a resident of East Legon was caught red handed. He had connected two big pipes into our main line and had denied the whole catchment area of water, when he was apprehended and the pipes were disconnected, immediately, water started flowing in homes,” she said.
“But the most serious aspect of this crime is that people who he had denied water were buying water from him, illegally selling water without permit, and so I think the MD of Ghana Water is handling that issue and he will be handed over to the police and I hope he will pay up for the number of years or months he had wrongly done that,” she added.
Commenting on other challenges confronting the water sector, the Minister said the activities of illegal miners in river bodies continue to be a major challenge to the distribution of safe water in the country.
The phenomenon, she said, had led to a deficit in water production and poor water quality, which is affecting the government’s efforts to embark on certain projects to improve water supply.
“I must say the biggest and the most serious challenge is this phenomenon of galamsey or illegal mining in our river bodies. This has created huge problems for our water systems and our concern, I must stress, is that, if we are borrowing close to $1 billion to do projects and the raw water sources are contaminated, polluted and the machines will be drawing in mud, where are we going and what do we want to do with our water bodies?” she said.
“We have our own people mining in the river bodies and in the buffer areas and this must stop. I am told and briefed that Regional Security Council (REGSEC), they are on top of this issue; very soon we would take some of you with us to go and find out the progress of work but this needs to stop,” she added.
She admitted that there are still barriers to access to safe water, adding, however, that the government was working to identify and solve all such challenges in the water distribution system.
“We also have the challenge of intermittent water supply and this is because any time the power is off, our machines go off and it takes us time to also get to work when the power is restored. We have obsolete electro-mechanical equipment that we are trying to replace and work on them,” she said.
“Old distribution and transmission pipelines; for those of us who are younger than 60 years, some of these pipelines were laid 65 years ago and we need to replace them. We have old metres that give us wrong readings; now we have installed bulk metres to give us the quantum of water we produce so that we can account for,” the Minister added.
“We also have the challenge of illegal connections and this is a very serious issue. Just yesterday, a resident of East Legon was caught red-handed; he had connected two big pipes into our main lines and had denied the whole area of water. When he was apprehended and the pipes were disconnected, immediately, water started flowing in people’s homes,” Mrs Cecilia Dapaah.