Thursday, May 21, 2015

Berekuso gets potable water

By Edmund Smith-Asante, BEREKUSO
Mr Sampson Ahi applauds the Berekuso chief as he cuts the ribbon to commission the water system
A small town water supply system has been inaugurated for the people of Berekuso in the Akwapim South District in the Eastern Region.

The water system was jointly funded by the government of Ghana and a non-governmental organisation, Safe Water Network (SWN), and a quartet of foundations, namely: Pepsi, Conrad Hilton, Newman’s Own and Osprey.

The project was dubbed, “H2OME! Water for me”. About 5,000 people at Berekuso and nearby villages are expected to benefit from it. 

The project cost US$100,000. Safe Water Network and foundation partners contributed US$85,000 with the Government of Ghana committing US$15,000 from the MPs’ Common Fund.

The water supply system comprise a pumping station with a manganese and iron removal plant and five stand pipes placed at various locations in the community. By this project, Berekuso stands to become a model for  water projects in other towns around the country.

At a durbar to inaugurate the project last Thursday, the Member of Parliament for Akwapim South, Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, said the water supply works, which took a year to complete, had become necessary because water that the people of Berekusu and its environs depended on previously had traces of manganese and iron, which are not good for drinking purposes.

He called for the establishment of a water management team to be put in place in partnership with the government to take care of the project. 

The Country Director for SWN, Mr Charles Nimako, said it was the network’s objective to assist the government to reduce deaths from water borne diseases, as well as the 100,000 estimated annual deaths from diarrhea by providing potable water. 

He urged the people of Berekuso to pay for the water fetched from the water system in order that they may gain needed funds to maintain and sustain the system.

Universal water coverage
The Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Sampson Ahi, inaugurated the water supply system. He reiterated the government’s vision to achieve universal water coverage by the year 2025 as contained in the Water Sector Strategic Development Plan (WSSDP).

“In fact, the government cannot undertake the effort alone and so would collaborate with other stakeholders such as donors and development partners, international and local companies and non-governmental agencies,” he said.

He urged the private sector and corporate bodies to explore opportunities and partner  the public sector  to improve water services delivery in Ghana. He further requested chiefs in the area to make their people agree to patronise the water from the station and “desist from drawing water from streams and dug-outs around.”

He encouraged the district assembly to “ensure that structures were put in place to ensure that funds from the sale of the water are properly accounted for.”

One of the access stands to the treated water at Berekuso
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, a caretaker of one of the standpipes in the community, Madam Dora Asantewaa, said members of the community sometimes failed to pay for water they fetched. 
“I have to go to great lengths to retrieve the money and sometimes even make up for any shortfalls in revenue at the end of the month,” she said.

For Mrs Dorcas Atta Asa and Mrs Diana Vandyck, the new water facility had saved them from the drudgery of boiling water always before use. “Now we only have to fetch the water and use it right away,” they said.

The Chief Executive of the Akwapim South District Assembly, Mr Kwaku Afari Gyan, called for unity at Berekuso in order to ensure the speedy development of the community.  “Without unity, there can be no development,” he said.

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This story was first published by the Daily Graphic on May 11, 2015

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