Gov’t to spend $200m annually on water & sanitation -Bagbin

Mr. Alban Bagbin, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing

The government is committed to allocating $200 million annually to reverse the decline in the nation’s sanitation, and sustain gains made in the water sector, Mr. Alban Bagbin, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, has said.

“Ghana Compact, which is the official government commitment, also pledged an additional $150 million annually to address the crises situation of the indiscriminate discharge of salvage, septage and faecal sludge into water courses, rivers, and beaches.”

Mr. Bagbin was delivering a keynote address at the fourth international conference on Appropriate Technology in Accra, on Thursday.

According him, the government would be relying on households, civil society, and our development partners in delivering the commitment.

The four-day conference is on the theme: Solutions or Thirsty, Polluted Planet,” and organised by the African University College of Communications (AUCC).
The primary sponsors of the conference include Howard University, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Northern California Council of Black Professional Engineers (NCCBPE).

Researchers and practitioners from around the world will be presenting their work on appropriate technology on water and sanitation to an audience of academics, professionals, government officials, business people and students.

The Minister announced that “as part of the new housing policy, which is currently in draft form, new houses would be required to incorporate rain water harvesting in building designs.”

He said there were simple filtrations pumps that can be used for domestic purposes other than for drinking.

Mr. Bagbin said a Buffer Zone Policy to regulate activities within defined boundaries along water bodies had been introduced by the Water Resource Commission.
According to him, interventions at protecting such water bodies include tree planting.
“There is a decline in the condition of our water bodies such as rivers and streams, irrigation reservoirs, lakes, lagoons and estuaries. Our streams have all turned into sewers and have become repositories for garbage,” he said.

He asked researchers, real estate developers and other stakeholders in the building industry to see to how appropriate technology used at the household level, can be expanded into the national platform.

“For example, we could do a community level gathering of both waste and rainwater at the roof and surface levels, for use in irrigation, watering of lawns, non-drinking commercial use such as car washing and other water-based cleaning services.”

He said a bottom up approach was needed in solving the water and sanitation problems of the country that is “from the individual through the family and the community to the world.”

“So our quest for solutions should start with the understanding that we have to conserve water, and by which to ensure adequate sanitation”, he said. – GNA

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