Transitional arrangements for the merger of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the Ghana Urban Water Limited (GUWL) into a single national utility company have been completed with the introduction of a new administration to manage the company.
The new administration is to be headed by a managing director, two deputies and chief managers who will head the various regional offices of the company.
Before the merger, the two companies had been solely responsible for water services in urban areas throughout the country.
To facilitate the government’s plans of merging the two companies, a 14-member committee was inaugurated to oversee the reform of the water sector.
Measures to improve services
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the acting Managing Director of the GWCL, Mr Kwaku Godson Dovlo, said more district offices would be opened in the regions to serve the rural communities better.
He also said the single national utility company (GWCL) had started full operation with the introduction of measures to make the company more viable.
The measures, he added, included the establishment of a directorate called the Special Business Unit which would focus on turning some of the branches of the GWCL in the regions into purely commercial entities to serve the people well and rake in more resources to augment the company’s budget.
Rehabilitation of old lines
The company is also adding more distribution lines and points to the existing ones, rehabilitating old pipelines and laying new ones in developing areas to meet the needs of the people.
Mr Dovlo said when the district offices were opened, they would replace the existing GWCL kiosks in the regions and serve as revenue collection points.
He added that a mineral water manufacturing and bottling sector would also be introduced to produce water for the market.
Mr Dovlo promised that with the successful implementation of the merger, Ghanaians would be supplied with good and clean drinking water.
Complement management efforts
He mentioned some of the challenges that the company faced as expired water treatment chemicals, perpetration of fraud and embezzlement, as well as system failures, and said these would be tackled seriously.
The acting managing director urged all the staff of the company, particularly the GWCL Women’s Association, known as Water Ladies, to complement the effort of the new management to further develop the company.
He also advised Water Ladies, which is holding a three-day national delegates conference, to mobilise their members and the men for periodic revenue mobilisation exercises to help improve upon their collection rate and the company’s financial situation as a whole.
He said women were naturally gifted with the skills of helping to change negative situations to positive ones and appealed to them to support the management to change the image of the company for the better.
According to Mr Dovlo, presently, the GWCL was in a crisis and the management was under pressure in all aspects of its operations and mentioned the difficulty in getting inadequate funding for the maintenance and rehabilitation of facilities.
Other challenges included huge water supply shortfalls, poor water flow, high operational cost, low cost recovery rate, low billing and low revenue collection, slow response to faults or leakages, and illegal connections.
Cabinet has approved a decision to merge the GWCL and the GUWL into a single national utility to improve efficiency in the production and distribution of water in the country.
A committee chaired by Nii Boi Ayibotele, a water consultant, was instituted to facilitate the merger.
The objective for the restructuring is to eliminate waste, expand the supply of safe water in urban areas and ensure that the poor have access to water supply, while ensuring sustainability through cost recovery and improved sector management.
The government decided to create the GUWL upon the expiration of a contractual agreement with Aqua Vittens Rand. The creation of the GUWL was a temporary measure, pending the government’s decision on a long-tern arrangement for improving water supply.
By Michael Donkor, Accra
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