Work on a 3.3 million gallons water project in Wa, the Upper West regional capital, has been completed. The water supply system which is currently being test run will be ready for distribution to consumers in the Wa municipality by the end of March 2017.
The $55.5 million project was started in February 2013 to replace the existing water supply system which has been in operation since 1952. It was undertaken by Kolon Pyunghwa of South Korea with funds from the Korea Exim Bank and the government of Ghana. It took 36 months to complete.
The old water system involved the extraction of ground water from 21 boreholes located in four wells. This, however, could not satisfy the needs of the growing population that currently stands at over 100,705.
The Upper West Regional Chief Manager of the Ghana Water Company, Mr Francis Agyei-Boateng, made this known when he conducted a group of journalists and students round the project site whose water is sourced from the Black Volta River at Jambusi. The event formed part of the World Water Day celebration last Wednesday.
The group was also briefed on treatment processes such as operations at the in-take facility, mixing chambers, filtration, disinfection and transmission.
The project was faced with some major challenges, including the activities of small-scale and illegal miners (‘galamsey’ operators) who continue to use dangerous chemicals to wash the minerals, thus polluting the river body, as well as destroying the environment in the process.
“On a daily basis, these illegal operators engage in their activities in search of precious minerals, thereby destroying the vegetation and polluting the Black Volta River,” Mr Agyei-Boateng lamented.
He, however, gave the assurance that the water produced from the river met the approved World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ghana Standard Authority quality for consumption. He noted that more funds would be needed to be able to provide water to all parts of the municipality.
The manager, therefore, expressed concern over the refusal by some consumers to settle their bills, which he said was affecting the smooth operations of the company in the area.
As of the end of February this year, some governmental agencies, including security services and educational institutions, owed the company a total amount of GH¢769,000 in the Wa municipality alone.
He gave the breakdown as follows: security agencies, about GH¢555,000; Wa Municipal Assembly, GH¢3,452; other agencies, GH¢91,926; second cycle institutions, about GH¢122,000, while third cycle institutions are indebted to the tune of GH¢1,655.