The people of Pwalugu expressed heartfelt joy through smiles that clouded their faces when it was announced that the small town was to benefit from a water supply system funded by the World Bank.
Pwalugu is famous for a malfunctioning Tomato Factory in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region and has only one dug well as source of drinking water, since the 1970s when all members of the community, especially women and children throng daily to fetch water for domestic and other uses.
Ground works starts in earnest as the construction firm on the job has moved to site to commence exploration and construction works to get water for the community as part of the US$21 million water supply system under the Small Town Sustainable Rural Water Supply Systems (STSRWSS) funded by the World Bank.
The Community Water and Sanitation Agency together with stakeholders on Monday officially handed over sites for contract works to begin.
Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, Upper East Regional Minister reiterated that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a social Democratic Party placed human beings at the centre of development hence, the need to prioritize water.
He assured the chiefs and people of Pwalugu and surrounding communities that the provision of water to the area marked the beginning of better things to come attesting to the long efforts made by previous interventions by development partners and previous administrations to get water to the area that did not succeed because the water table there was low.
He thanked the chiefs and people for releasing land for the project and called for their cooperation for the contractors to work, and tasked them to eschew any behaviour that would delay the project especially petty pilfering and lateness to work, saying such a project in the community assured the youth of jobs.
He advised the contractors to go by the tenets of the contracts and ensure they delivered on time.
The Minister said government had also started moves for a multipurpose use of the Pwalugu dam and indicated that plans were afoot to generate 60 megawatts of electricity from the river and to help increase irrigation to support farm activities.
He indicated that the inauguration of Board of Directors for the Northern Star Tomato Factory (NSTF) was to help the factory go full scale production when the tomato season started and added that the use of the dam for irrigation and erosion control could not be downplayed.
Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru urged all to remain patient for government to bring the needed development and said “things don’t just come so easily, they go through process such as what the contractors of these projects went through during evaluation”.
Mr Emmanuel Atwia, consultant to the projects said the project which was to be implemented by KADAKON Limited was expected to be completed in eight months and elaborated that the project consisted of 12 standpipes with source tapped from ground water from the Balungu River which is four kilometers away from the area.
The consultant said the water would be transmitted through high water tanks spread across Pwalugu into the standpipes throughout Pwalugu to Manpelungua community close to the Northern Region.
Naba Abugbila, Chief of Pwalugu, expressed gratitude to government, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and allied partners for the intervention and prayed for extension of similar support to the Bugborogo community.
Alaatara Sakiyine a 60-year-old woman from Pwalugu was thankful to government for making effort to provide water to the community. She said the intervention came at the right time, and added that for 30 years, she went out together with her colleague women through long distances in search of water from sunrise to sunset and got only water that could do for drinking just for a day.
Madam Janet Dagero, Midwife at the Pwalugu Health Centre said the facility buys water from Zoomlion services for use at the clinic.
The community since 1970 through the support of the CIDA projects in the region tried transmitting water from the Pwalugu Dam which was not successful and under COWAP between 1993 and 2000 tried again but to no avail.
Other areas to benefit under the STRWSS are Sapelliga in the Bawku West District, Widana, Bazyonde, Kalbeo in Bolgatanga the Municipal and Duusi in the Talensi District. Other areas include Bongo Soe and Zorkor in the Bongo District and Biu, Kolgo, Pungu, Kadema and Katiu in the Kasenna-Nanakana and Builsa districts respectfully.