Govt must equip WATSAN departments

The Water Citizen, a UN Commission has urged government to take priority step in equipping the Water and Sanitation departments of the Ministries and agencies to address the challenges in the provision of portable drinking water to deprived communities.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared access to water and sanitation as a fundamental human right in July 2010, yet development of infrastructure for the provision of water and sanitation is problematic for developing countries including Ghana.

According to Water Citizen, a major project in the western region specifically the Nzema East Municipality, the Jomoro District and the Ellembelle District is not poor in water but its hydrological resources are not equally distributed.

Adding that, their equality is increasingly threatened by pollution and unsustainable exploitation.

Hon. Gabriel Jeni, the Assemblyman from Jomoro indicated that less than 50% of Ghanaians have access to portable drinking water.

According to him, they have pushed harder, as an advocacy group, to force government to act decisively over the provision of water to every community, not only that, but as a right of every citizen to have access to the minimum of water per person per day.

Silvia Bergamasco, Desk Officer, COSPE NGO, West Africa at the 1st National forum of stakeholders added that the event seek to put together the different experiences at the local level to inform policy makers.

She noted that the objective is to work towards the constitutionalisation for the right to water and the same time engage discussion at the international level for best practices.

Dr. David Pessy, during his statement on the conflicts of human rights and right of private capital, indicated that the issues are political and ideological.

He noted that the lack of political will have hindered steps towards the provision of portable drinking water to deprived communities.

During the discussions, some of the issues that emerged included community ownership and management problem, broken down of merchandised boreholes and the activities of galamsey operators continue to pollute our sources of drinking water in the full glare of our authorities.

Expectations were that government should empower the WATSAN department and agencies to effectively provide portable drinking water to deprived communities.

By Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor, [email protected]

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