22.3.07

Ensuring water availability to the populace is a strategic priority- Owusu-Agyeman

Government is moving towards making water available to 85 percent of Ghana's population by 2015, as a strategic priority. This is because access to water was crucial to "the successful achievement of most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)" and the Growth and Poverty Reduction (GPRS) 11.
Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing made these points in his keynote address to mark "World Water Day" in Ho on Thursday under the theme, "Coping with water scarcity". "Fortunately we have set our priorities towards ensuring the provision of good drinking water and sanitation related services for our increasing population in the rural and urban areas", he said.
Mr Owusu-Agyeman said the task would require that the citizenry seriously explore simple but important technologically sound alternative sources of water supply such as rainwater harvesting. He therefore, tasked the District Assemblies to introduce mechanisms, including building codes and byelaws and their enforcement to promote rainwater harvesting. Mr Owusu-Agyeman said attention should also be focused on water management that addresses water conservation and pollution and creation of buffers along water bodies.
He said preliminary studies have therefore been initiated which aim at developing an appropriate buffer zone policy for the protection of the country's water bodies and vital eco-systems while providing economic benefits for the populace. Mr Owusu-Agyeman said in response to the sub-regional dimension of water resource management, the country played a lead role towards establishing the Volta Basin Authority, involving other countries such as Burkina Faso, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and Mali.
In a statement the Chairman of the Water Resources Commission (WRC), Professor Clement Dorm-Adzobu said the Commission has initiated substantial programmes to develop appropriate management instruments, accelerating institutional co-ordination and creating enabling environment towards the effective implementation of Integrated Water Resource Management, which resulted in the establishment of decentralized basin management boards. One of such boards was the Densu Basin Board comprising representatives of District Assemblies, local authorities, non-governmental organizations, women and government institutions leading to the improvement in water quality of the Densu.
A statement from the United Nations Secretary General Mr Ban Ki -moon said the way forward in coping with water scarcity require strengthening institutional capacity and governance at all levels, promoting more technology transfer, mobilizing more financial resources and scaling up good practices and lessons learnt. He called on the "UN system and all stakeholders to forge stronger partnerships and take more concerted action throughout the entire International Decade for Action: Water for Life 2005-2015".GNA

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