Posts tagged ‘world water day’

April 15, 2016

Ghana: Water Minister Calls for Strategic Repositioning of Water Issues

Ama Kudom-Agyemang
April 15, 2016

Ghana’s Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Dr. Kwaku Agyemang Mensah notes that the quantity and quality of water can change lives and livelihoods of workers and even transform societies and economies.

The Minister calls for a strategic repositioning of water issues noting that the way they are addressed “will affect the successful achievement of the country’s Medium Term and the Planned Long Term National Development Agenda.”

He in particular stresses that world water day celebrations should “serve as enough inspiration for us to intensity our commitment and awareness drive at reversing the deterioration of our waters … developing a preventive based culture, involving our women, children and youth … in ways that they can contribute effectively to resolving the country’s issues.”

Mensah was recently speaking during the World Water Day celebrations that were crowned with a stakeholders dialogue at the palace premises of the James Town Mantse (Chief) at James Town in British Accra. The area boasts of some historic colonial structures including Ussher Fort, James Fort, the two light houses and the building of the Ghana Bible Society.

Nii Oblempong Ababio addressing the gathering. Seated on his left hand side is Ghana’s Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing Dr. Kwaku Agyemang Mensah

Nii Oblempong Ababio addressing the gathering. Seated on his left hand side is Ghana’s Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing Dr. Kwaku Agyemang Mensah

Speaking during the same occasion, the Managing Director of the Ghana Water Company Limited, Fredrick Lokko expressed regret at how the Company loses significant volume of water produced daily to illegal activities of some consumers.

“This,” he said “impacts negatively on the capacity of the company to sustain the supply of this vital resource without which there is no life.” Mr. Lokko mentioned some of the illegal activities as connection to distribution lines; and perforation of pipe-lines by gardeners, farmers and cattle herdsmen.

He urged Ghanaians to be “patriotic and do the right things to support the Ghana Water Company to serve you better.”

These sentiments were also expressed by the Ashiedu Keteke Sub Metro District Environmental Health Officer Rev. Chris Gawugbe. He said damage to pipelines expose treated water to communicable diseases, which affect the health and well-being of most of the people. The Vice Chairman of the Coalition of NGOs on Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Bishop Nathaniel Adams said, “The issue of water in this country is about safety… we need to change strategies and bring in new methods to make our water safe…”

For his part, the Chief Executive of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), Clement Bugase noted that “there is a cost and responsibility to safe water.” He said his Agency currently has a huge challenge to provide about 450 thousand small and rural communities with safe water, saying, “the need is huge and it requires urgent measures to conserve our water resources.”

The street procession of school children marking 2016 World Water Day in Ghana

The street procession of school children marking 2016 World Water Day in Ghana

The James Town Mantse Nii Oblempong Ababio who was chairman for the function said, “it has been a lesson learning event,” and called on Ghanaians to protect water bodies and stop dumping refuse in them. He urged the children who participated in the event to educate their parents about the messages on water.
The durbar was preceded by a street procession of school children carrying placards with inscriptions such as “water is life, save water save life,” and the health of our water is our responsibility.”

As part of the activities marking national World Water Day, a School’s Tree Planting Competition was launch at the Ayalolo Cluster of Schools in Accra. The Chairman of the Planning Committee for World Water Day, Mrs. Adwoa Dako explained the rationale for the competition saying, “it is a way of involving school children in the celebration and educating them on the importance of trees as a buffer against erosion and storms.”

A Tree Validation Auditor of the Greater Accra Regional Forest Services Division, Frank Ankomah, reminded the children of the importance of trees for sustaining lives. The Ayalolo Circuit Supervisor Mrs. Christiana Maclean was hopeful that the children will take good care of the seedlings and nurture them into matured trees, so that the premises will become shady and beautiful.

The participating schools are Asia Mills Primary and Junior High, Ayalolo 1 & 2 Primary, Akoto Lante Junior High, and Central Mosque Basic Primary and Junior High. They will be evaluated and awarded at the next celebration of World Water Day.

The writer can be reached at:

March 19, 2013

Uganda: Access to Safe Water; More of a Myth than a Reality

Hope Mafaranga
March 19, 2013

As the world marks World Water Day this week, several countries in Africa are still far from achieving the millennium development goal 7 C despite efforts in place.

This goal calls for halving, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

One of such countries is Uganda, where areas in the western, eastern and Northern Uganda continue to cry foul over not only poor water sources but also the long distances women and children travel to fetch water.

A young girl in Kabale district of Uganda returns home after collecting water from a shallow well

A young girl in Kabale district of Uganda returns home after collecting water from a shallow well

A world health organization report in 2012 showed that an estimated 780 million still lacked safe drinking water in 2010 underlining the fact that target C of the millennium goal 7 is far from being achieved.

In western Uganda, people living in hilly areas have no access to piped water while the few water sources are down the hill slope and in the valleys far away from their homes.

Alfred Bikitwoha, a resident of Kashuro Village in Mbarara district western Uganda reveals that his family gets water from a spring over 5 kilometers away.

“We share the spring with other 3 villages. Because of the high number of people and the long distance, we spend 4-5 hours fetching water depending on the number of people you find there,” a visibly tired Bikitwoha revealed adding that his wife gets up as early as 6 am to go to the spring.

About a quarter of Uganda’s population lack access to safe water

About a quarter of Uganda’s population lack access to safe water

As if this is not enough, during the dry spell, this spring runs dry at times complicating lives much more. The situation in Kashuro is similar to what is happening to several other regions of Uganda.

The Mbarara district Assistant Water Engineering Officer, Engineer Joseph Mucunguzi says that the mountainous nature of the area coupled with limited resources is making pumping of water to this area difficult.

In a desperate move, residents have resorted to shrewd but unhealthy ways of keeping water.

James Nuwagaba one of the residents in western Uganda has dug a 40-fit pit to tap water that flows during the rainy season.

This water is what the family uses for all their domestic needs. Those who see Nuwagaba’s style as more advanced collect water off the roofs in jerry cans, pots and sauce pans when it rains.

Some use this water to drink even without preparing it, something that has worsened the burden of water-borne diseases.
Rosette Mutambi – the Executive Director of HEPS Uganda says this is not just a water issue but also leads to local people’s poor health.

“ The issue of health is threat to people’s lives because they suffer from water borne diseases which they should not have if at all they had safe and clean water. As a result, government spends much on drugs more than preventing the diseases,” she says.

She wants government to address this issue urgently.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

March 19, 2013

AfDB Approves US $73 Million for Irrigation and Road Projects in Malawi

WaterSan Perspective
March 19, 2013

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved grants and loans amounting to US $73 million to finance irrigation and road rehabilitation projects in Malawi.

The grants, amounting to US $39.98 million from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and the African Development Fund (ADF), will be used to finance the Smallholder Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP).

African Development Bank Logo

African Development Bank Logo

A total of US $39.6 million will come from the GAFSP Multi-Donor Trust Fund, while the ADF will provide a grant of US $0.38 million.

The project aims is to contribute to food security, increased income levels and poverty reduction and the specific objectives are to increase agricultural production and productivity through intensification of irrigation, crop diversification, value addition and capacity building. SIVAP will benefit 11,400 farm families of which more than 50 per cent are headed by women.

A total of about 450,000 people will indirectly benefit from project activities through enhanced crop production, diversification and developing high value-chains.

The project will ensure ownership by the beneficiaries through participation in supervision, monitoring, evaluation, afforestation activities, matching grant arrangement for equipment, and training. The emphasis on expanding irrigation capacity will support Government efforts in achieving the objective of enabling farmers to plant at two crops per year.

The world marks International Water Day on Friday March 22, 2013

The world marks International Water Day on Friday March 22, 2013

The AfDB also provided a concessional loan of US $33.2 million to finance the rehabilitation of the road between Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay. The Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road is one of the major trunk roads prioritized in the government’s Road Sector Programme, as it is part of the road network that links the northern region of the country to the central and southern regions.

The road, once rehabilitated, will support economic growth sectors in the northern region and is expected to benefit an estimated 342,211 people living in the two districts, by improving access to markets, schools, and health centres and other social-economic centres.

In addition to the above, the road is located on the Mtwara Development Corridor and therefore serves international freight traffic from Zambia and Tanzania. It is an important road link, not only for domestic connectivity, but also for regional trade and integration.

The AfDB is committed to supporting the Malawi Government in its efforts to achieve inclusive economic growth and reducing poverty.

The AfDB is confident that these resources will support Government’s efforts towards the achievement of goals and targets of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II), consistent with the Bank’s Country Strategy covering 2013-2017.

March 25, 2012

Cameroon: Dying for Any Water in Buea

Lum Edith Achamukong
March 25, 2012

The absence of safe water is reportedly rendering many residents of the South West Region of Cameroon despondent. This comes less than a week after the world commemorated the 2012 World Water Day.

Our network member Lum Edith Achamukong has just been in Buea, the most affected area. She witnessed this unfortunate situation and took pictures. As Edith reports, in Buea, taps are completely dry.

Long queues characterize public water taps as women and children spend several hours of the day fetching and transporting water in Buea. Fights as some people attempt to jump the queue are not new in this area.

A crowded water source in Buea (Picture by the Writer)

The rationing method previously applied by the organ charged with the supply of pipe borne water (La Camerounaise Des Eaux) has not satisfied the water needs of thousands of people at the foot of West Africa’s highest mountain.

This crisis has been attributed to the complete breakdown of very old water pipes put in place during the German rule of Cameroon decades ago. Little maintenance on the infrastructure now weighs on the population not without socio economic costs.

Statistics from the United Nations say 40 Billion working hours are spent carrying water each year in Africa and that equals to a year’s labor for the entire work force of France. Moreover, households in rural Africa spend an average of 26% of their time fetching water, and this generally involves women and children.

In Buea, several children and women spend hours fetching water (Picture by by the writer)

The water crisis is heightening at the hills of the award of a contract by CAMWATER to a Belgian company ASPAC CEMAC for the rehabilitation and extension of the water scheme in Buea. The populations are definitely hoping that this two-year project will be realized on time.

Studies for the expansion of the water supply systems in the Buea municipality were carried out some years ago. And the execution of the project begins this year, 2012.

This responsibility has been given to the water corporation CAMWATER that is specialized in heavy projects for the construction and expansion of water systems in Cameroon.

The project in the Buea municipality is aimed at doubling the capacity of production of water and also to rehabilitate the existing structures and extend the water distribution.
Two main sites have been earmarked for rehabilitation in this project: the two old catchment and production areas – that is, the German source at Upper Farms and the Musole source at Great Soppo. There are two new sites to be exploited during this project: one at Wokoko (below the Fakoship neighbourhood); and the other at Small Soppo around the popular Kai catchment area.

The project, as stipulated in the contract with CAMWATER, will take a total of 24 months to be complete. The objective is to double the volume of water supply in the Buea municipality from 6-thousand cubic meters per day – which is the maximum volume obtained during the rainy season – to 12-thousand cubic meters per day. The neighborhoods in Buea to benefit directly from this rehabilitation and expansion project are those that are usually worst hit by the water crisis. They include Buea Town, Bokwango, Upper Bonduma, Molyko, Mile 18, and the Mile 17 Motor Park area.

August 15, 2011

Water in an Urbanising World

Fredrik Mugira
August 15, 2011

The Executive Director, UN-HABITAT Dr. Joan Clos laments that the supply of water resource in most cities around the world has not kept pace with the high demand created by economic activity and rapid population growth.

This, he says is mostly being witnessed in less developed regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Outdated infrastructure caused by low investments, poor planning, weak and un-enforced legislation and poor governance are some of the major challenges confronting those charged with the responsibility of providing water in our cities,” notes clos further stressing that, “climate change, including disruptive events such as flooding and drought also calls for urgent water-related mitigation and adaptation measures.”

Expanding and upgrading water and basic sanitation services in urban centers in developing countries remains a big challenge. The above photo was taken in Mbarara town, Uganda.

The challenge now lies in expanding and upgrading water and basic sanitation services to keep pace with urban growth, says Clos.

“With large sections of the urban population living in informal settlements where water and basic sanitation are severely deficient, the challenge is how to expand and upgrade these services to keep pace with urban growth, while ensuring access to an adequate level of services for the poor,” notes clos.

Clos’ remarks come ahead of the World Water Week to be held from 21-27 August 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden.

UN –Water designated UN-HABITAT to coordinate the organisation of World Water Day 2011 under the theme “Water and Urbanization.” UN-HABITAT will now continue the water and urbanisation debate in Stockholm, Sweden during the World Water Week.

“The 21st session of the annual World Water Week in Stockholm under the theme “Responding to Global Challenges: Water in an Urbanizing World” provides a good opportunity to build on the outcome of this year’s World Water Day celebrations coordinated by UN-HABITAT in Cape Town South Africa,” notes Clos.

A group of artists performing during the 2011 World Water Day celebrations in Cape Town South Africa

The Cape town even whose final report was released by UN-HANITAT last week, focused international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.

It also encouraged action by governments, organisations, communities, and individuals around the world to engage actively in addressing urban water, management challenges.

To further this, during the World Water Week in Sweden, UN-HABITAT and its partners will convene a number of seminars to discuss important issues such as building water related resilience in urban areas, bench-marking governance and partnerships of water operators, the human rights based approach and community involvement in public water supply and getting the “Five Year Drive for Sanitation” on track among others.

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