Mr. Alban Sumani Kingsford Bagbin, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, has told Ghanaians to hold Government responsible on its manifesto promises and not campaign promises. He said political campaign platforms were different from when a party has come to power, adding that the party was supposed to govern the country based on its manifestoes.
Mr. Bagbin was addressing a cross section of the populace including District Chief Executives, heads of departments, and heads of security agencies at a forum in Tamale on Tuesday on the water sector in the Region.
He said Government was therefore developing a comprehensive national development programme embracing the three subsectors of water resources conservation and management, rural and small sector and urban water delivery to address the problems of water supply in the country to meet its promise.
He said the Government had embarked on the development of a Strategic Sector Development Plan (SSDP) aimed at bringing all the investment plans of the three subsectors into a consolidated sector plan.
Mr. Bagbin said it would incorporate the individual plans of the Water Resources Commission (WRC), Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and the Ghana Water Company Limited into a single composite and harmonized programme with linkages to other sectors of the economy.
He said the comprehensive policy would also include maintenance of water bodies, rain water harvesting, institutional reforms, sustainability of systems and advocacy and public awareness creation as part of areas to implement the policy.
He said the Northern Region was endowed with surface water and much less of groundwater resources, adding that available water was about 7.72 billion cubic meters, which translated to 1,737 billion gallons per annum, representing about 19 per cent of the annual national figure of 40 billion cubic meters.
Mr. Bagbin said the Region had three urban water supply systems, which included Tamale, Yendi and Damango, adding that all those supply systems needed some rehabilitation else the Region in three years time might had no access to potable water supply.
He emphasized that the Damango water supply system would be rehabilitated at the cost of US$15.5m with Yendi at a cost of US$28.0m. “The Ministry is currently in negotiations with various funding bodies including Hapoalim Bank of Israel, Hidrobiente Group, African Development Bank and two Chinese companies to provide funding for further expansion ofthe above projects”, he stressed.
Mr. Bagbin said at the end of 2009, 68 per cent of the urban population in the Region had access to safe water as against 56 per cent nationally. The MDGs national target, he added, was to reach 76 per cent coverage by 2015, but Government wished to achieve 85 per cent.
Mr. Moses Bukari Mabengba, the Northern Regional Minister, observed that water was a basic human need but was sad that the rate of water and sanitation delivery was not commensurate with the population growth.
He said the Region would continue to appreciate and welcome interventions in the quest to curb the incidence of water supply and water related diseases to improve the lives of the people.
Mr. Mabengba said water generally in the Region had a very low success rate with high fluoride content, which had health implications and called for the adoption of alternative technologies that would take those challenges into consideration. GNA