At the just ended CWSA 2017 Review Conference, the Chief Executive Ing. Worlanyo Kwadjo Siabi gave a comprehensive overview of the sanitation and water resources sub sector during the opening ceremony. He informed the participants that the theme for CWSA 2017 Review Conference is; “Rural Water and Sanitation Services Provision: Current Role of CWSA, Gaps and the Way Forward for Effective and Sustainable Delivery” and explained the thrust of the conference as follow;
- To agree as a sector on policy shifts and reforms required within the CWSA to ensure that it becomes strong enough to protect investments made in the sector.
- To solicit support for the implementations of the reforms and new policies.
The overview of the sector covered the period between 2015 and 2016. It focused on the Agency’s performance in the area of Human Resource, Finance, Logistics, Infrastructure, Project Management and the need for Reforms. The Review Conference provided an opportunity for the agency to dialogue with its stakeholders on matters related to expanding the mandate and determining the future of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) to reposition itself for delivery of sustainable WASH services.
CWSA relies heavily on government subventions released annually from the consolidate fund based on approved budgets. The Agency also attracts some funding from few of the development partners left in the rural WASH sub sector. Unfortunately, in the last four years CWSA has been starved of funding for its operations from these two sources. This new phenomenon has greatly affected its performance in the last couple of years and leaves the Agency incapable of monitoring WASH service delivery as well as providing new facilities in four of the ten regions. This the Chief Executive said, was one of the compelling reasons necessitating a change in the mandate and financing arrangements of the Agency. If this is not done he said, the Agency will not survive into the next decade to protect the several investments made in the sub sector.
CWSA currently has a total staff strength of 193 and a work force requirement of 250 even though a ceiling of 233 was approved by the Finance Ministry. This means that there is a staff shortfall of 57, which requires to be filled. The perennial problem of high attrition of the Agency’s staff persists as a result of unacceptable working conditions. Those leaving are the young ones who, given the current state of affairs within the Agency, see a bleak future. The older personnel, who started with the organization close to the two decades of its existence remain at post but very soon they will also retire and that will leave the Agency in serious work force crisis. Several requests have been made to the Ministry of Finance for clearance to recruit more staff but unfortunately, this has not been granted.
LOGISTICS AND EQUIPMENT
One of the post project implementation functions of CWSA is Service Monitoring. The Regional Offices are required to check on the status of WASH facilities and to constantly offer technical advice to the MMDAs on the performance of these facilities. Regrettably, this is not being done as required because most vehicles of the Agency are in poor condition. Since its establishment, all vehicles for the operations of the CWSA have been procured through donor funds and not directly from GoG. The Chief Executive appealed to the sector Minister to ensure that in the 2018 budget CWSA would be provided with funds to procure vehicles for the regional and head offices.
SECTOR PERFORMANCE FOR THE PERIOD 2015 TO 2016
The Chief Executive reported that in 2015, 1,320 boreholes were constructed and installed with hand pumps of which 35 were solar powered. In 2016 the Agency delivered 385 boreholes fitted with hand pumps, while 23 of them were solar powered pumps. Within the same period, 31 and 39 piped water systems were delivered. In addition, 330 boreholes and 7 Piped Water Systems were rehabilitated in 2015, while eight (8) boreholes were also rehabilitated in 2016. Under the sanitation programme, the Agency facilitated the delivery of 12,003 improved latrines in 2015 and 753 in 2016. The variations in delivery of WASH services are directly related to the availability of funding for both infrastructure and the soft components of water, sanitation and hygiene provision.
Ing. Worlanyo Siabi commended the new Sanitation and Water Resources Ministry for having allocated about GHS 30, 558,111.54 to CWSA under the 2017 budget for capital investments, Goods & Services and Employee Compensation. He noted that as much as 73 % of this amount is targeted at capital investments and that the Government’s water for All Agenda intends to provide funding for the installation of 25, 000 boreholes to be fitted with hand pump and 300 small towns piped systems. This will require that CWSA invests nearly USD 750 Million in the sub-Sector in order to achieve the country’s target for the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030. The Chief Executive indicated that CWSA has already developed a programme showing clearly how to deliver on this promise of government to the good people in the rural areas of Ghana. The Agency intends to discuss with the sector ministry how to attract funding to implement this programme.
The Chief Executive gave an update on the few Projects being implemented by the Agency.
Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project (SRWSP)
The SRWSP is funded by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, with a loan of US$ 75 million. It was originally a five-year Project from 2010 to 2015 but has since been extended to the end of June 2017 to allow for completion of key components. The target is to improve access to water and sanitation for 600,000 people in the Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Brong Ahafo, Central and Western Regions of Ghana.
Expected Outputs of the Project Include; 1,200 new boreholes to be fitted with hand pumps, 400 old boreholes to be rehabilitated in the Northern Region, 40 Limited mechanized water facilities and 29 Small town systems. As at March 2017, 1,166 boreholes had been successfully drilled and 999 fitted with hand pumps leaving 167 boreholes yet to be fitted with hand pumps. Also, 372 boreholes have been rehabilitated and fitted with hand pumps in the Northern Region. In addition, 53 piped water systems including Limited Mechanised System (with rehabilitated tanks) have been completed out of a target of 69 in all the six beneficiary regions. In the area of sanitation, 428 institutional latrines have been completed out of 431 awarded for construction, 47 Open Defecation Free (ODFs) communities have been achieved and 2,222 additional household latrines completed bringing the total of latrines constructed to 22,878. Under the establishment of Sector Information System (SIS), the SIS has been installed at the various sites. As a result, CWSA is able to send information to the server. The establishment of data base of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Private Institutions (PIs) for the SIS have also been completed. The consultant has handed over the database to CWSA for incorporating into the SIS.
Five District Water Supply Scheme (STRABAG Project)
This is a Water Supply scheme being implemented by STRABAG AG of Vienna Austria under the supervision of CWSA. The target beneficiaries are Central Tongu, North Tongu, Adaklu, Agotime–Ziope Districts and Ho Municipality. The project is in three (3) phases. Phase 1 was funded with an €8.8million and Phase 2 with an €8 million both being loans from Raiffeisenbank International Bank AG of Vienna, Austria.
Achievement under Phases 1 & 2 include; completed office building and Staff accommodation. The Pump house (including a solar facility) has also been completed and installed with 7 high level water tanks of various sizes at different locations, a 5000 m3/d Water treatment plant at Mafi Adidome and 85.37km of transmission lines laid.
In respect of the final phase (Phase 3), Raiffeisenbank International of AG/Vienna issued a letter of intent to the former MWRWH proposing a loan facility of €17.14M to complete it. This Phase will cover investment in the distribution of the water supplies to the 5 beneficiary Districts/Municipality, and unless this phase is completed the communities will not be able to benefit from the earlier investment fully. This facility fortunately is captured in the 2017 budget of the new Ministry. It is expected that the sector ministry will restart the process to ensure that the loan is procured, he said.
Akrokeri Water Project
This third project of great importance is the GoG Sponsored Akrokeri Water Project in the Ashanti Region. A scheme to provide the community with safe and adequate water started in March 2012. The project involves the laying of pipelines and installation of 15 standpipes and 2 high level tanks. The contract sum is GHS GHS 3, 480,000 and the entire project is about 50% completed. The project was stalled due to lack of funds but funding has recently been made available to the contractors and it is expected that work will be completed by the end of 2017.
Strengthening Local Government Capacity to Deliver Water Services Project.
CWSA does not focus on hardware delivery alone but also projects on capacity-building to ensure that our stakeholders develop the necessary skills required for sustainability. One of such is the Strengthening Local Government Capacity to Deliver Water Services Project. This is a US$ 3 Million Conrad N. Hilton Foundation funded project. The funds are channeled through IRC and CWSA to build capacities of local government structures to manage water services. There are five (5) beneficiary regions under this project namely Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo, and Volta. The project commenced on 1st July 2014 and is expected to end by 30th June 2017.
Targets include the following;
(i) Formalization of partnership between CWSA and grantees
(ii) Continued experimentation for increasing sustainability of water supply in the 3 Triple-S pilot districts
(iii) Scaling up the innovative service delivery tools and models from the 3 Triple-S pilot districts to at least 10 additional Foundation grantee districts
(iv) Improving district level coordination and harmonization and plan investments for universal coverage
(v) Advocating and training staff of CWSA and of implementing NGOs in 5 regions
(vi) Strengthening the enabling environment at national level
(vii) Disseminating of lessons learned to international audiences
Achievements as at March 2017;
• Partnerships with Grantees formalized through MoUs and Operational Agreements
• Capacity building on Service Delivery Approach for CWSA, DAs and the grantees
• Draft Communications strategy completed
• Training and capacity building plan – Completed and submitted
• Learning Alliance Platforms established in all 5 regions and 13 districts
• Desert Research Institute (DRI) has completed water resource maps, water quality and hydrogeological databases on the East Gonja, West Mamprusi and Savelugu Districts. DRI and CWSA are working to integrate the datasets into DIMES. A survey is completed in East Gonja towards establishment of the Circuit Rider (CR)
• Circuit Rider established in East Gonja
• Study on Full coverage in NR, UER, UWR completed awaiting final report
• Study on Innovative financing for capital maintenance expenditure in VR, BAR, NR completed awaiting final report
• Study on drivers and barriers to harmonization and coordination completed in UER, BAR and awaiting final report
• Completed assessment of the SkyFox SMS system for repair of handpumps. Training organized for hand pump caretakers and Area Mechanics in BAR, NR, VR, UWR and UER. SMS experimentation on-going in the Sunyani West District.
• Baseline mapping of all hardware; functionality assessments; service delivery assessments completed in 13 districts
• Capacity building on Service Delivery Approach for CWSA, DA and grantees - training on Monitoring, asset management and LCCA training for 13 Districts.
• Orientation on CWSA operational documents (National Community Water and Sanitation Strategy, Project Implementation Manual and District Operational Manual, Guidelines/Standards) held in 5 regions and all 13 DAs.
• District Water and Sanitation Plans (DWSP) training based on SDA, LCCA and MTDP for development of new DWSPs and revision of existing ones has been completed in all 13 Districts Assemblies and for NGOs
UN Habitat WASH Project in Disaster Prone Communities - Phase II
This project was jointly conceived by UN-Habitat, UNICEF, UNDP and WHO in close collaboration with the national institutional partners involved in the WASH and Disaster Management sectors. It is to address Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) needs in disaster prone communities in the Northern, Upper West and Upper East Regions of Ghana.
The overall objective of the Ghana Programme is to improve health and livelihoods in selected disaster prone communities and schools through increase in access to good drinking water and improved sanitation facilities on a sustainable basis. Specifically, the project assesses, identifies and implements resilient WASH facilities and services for communities within the geographic scope of the project in the three (3) Northern sector Regions (Northern, Upper East and Upper West).
Achievements of the Project as at March 2017 include:
• One (1) small town system completed in the northern region
• seven (7) resilient borehole platforms completed in the northern region
• Installation of eight (8) handpumps completed in the northern region
• Mechanization of one (1) borehole with solar pump in the northern region
• Four (4) new boreholes completed in the Upper East region
• Fifty-seven (57) boreholes rehabilitated in the Upper East Region
• One (1) mechanized system completed in the Upper West Region
• Seven (7) boreholes resilient borehole platforms completed in the Upper West Region
• Ten (10) boreholes rehabilitated in the Upper West Region
MAJOR CHALLENGES OF CWSA
According to the Chief Executive, major challenges encountered by the Agency in its operational activities in the last three to four years are as follows;
(I) Inadequate Funds for Operations
The Agency faces a funding challenge of always receiving less than the approved budget for its Goods and Services, while disbursement is also not timely. For instance, for the year 2015 an amount of GHS 243, 517 was approved for the Agency per the budget but only GHC87, 947 of the approved amount was released in the month of December 2015 for the Head Office and Ten (10) regional offices. The operational efficiency of the Agency depends largely on how it applies its budget, and therefore in 2015 very little was achieved on monitoring. Compared with the previous year, the 2017 budget for the Agency is much acceptable. The Chief Executive entreated the sector Ministry to exert the necessary influence on the Ministry of Finance to provide the funds early enough for disbursement. He also appealed to the Hon. Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources to continue to annually increase the Agency’s budget to enable it meet both its investment and administration as well as the operational expenses.
(II) Limited Capacity at MMDAs for Wash Delivery
According to Ing. Worlanyo Siabi, MMDAs fall under the MLGRD and for this reason, issues of human resource, be it recruitment or transfers are handled by their sector Ministry. Frequent transfer of staff at the MMDA level always slows down programme implementation processes of the Agency since it takes time for the newly transferred staff to be acquainted with the WASH programmes and the new working environment. Though the proposed Works Departments has been established in many MMDAs, the Sanitation and Water Units of these departments are yet to be provided with full complement of personnel by the Local Government Service Secretariat.
(III) Difficult Hydro-Geological Terrain
Exploration of groundwater in difficult hydro-geological formations has been a challenge to successful drilling in some parts of the country over the years. This phenomenon including the cost of drilling and water quality in such formations is getting worse. In the Northern Region for instance, groundwater accessibility is problematic and hence low drilling success rates, which makes the achievement of project targets relatively difficult. There are cases were communities are selected to benefit from specific projects but due to this challenge they have been left out. However, research results documented under the Hydro-geological Assessment Project (HAP) in the Northern region of Ghana is now available for use by hydrogeological and drilling firms to improve upon the poor success rate in the northern parts of the country. New siting technologies such as 2D and 3D are now available for adoption by the hydrogeological firms.
(IV) Water Safety Concerns
Ing. Worlanyo Siabi indicated that there are a number of water safety issues affecting the water delivery process in all the regions of the country. These include high levels of iron, manganese, fluoride, arsenic, hardness, bacteriological contamination and salt intrusion from the sea into boreholes located in coastal regions. Even in areas with reasonable drilling success rates, the chemical composition of groundwater sources are often unacceptable compared with recommended levels prescribed by the Ghana Standard Authority. In many of such cases, the hand pumps could not be installed, while a good number of high yielding wells have been capped. In Upper East and Northern regions, a number of boreholes have been decommissioned or capped as a result of high levels of fluoride. Some communities in the coastal belt have salinity challenges in the groundwater and therefore the sources cannot be used for drinking. Between 20 to 33% of groundwater supplies in the Eastern, Central, Western, Greater Accra Regions, with the highest occurring in the Ashanti Region do not meet recommended levels. In the northern parts of Ghana, because of water scarcity many of the communities will just not complain of the quality of water supplies.
The Chief Executive indicated that, in 2010, the CWSA developed a guideline called “Water Safety Framework” to address these water safety challenges. However, non-availability of funding made it impossible to initiate this programme. The Chief Executive said that high level research is required to solve the many water safety challenges and announced that before the end of 2017, the Agency will reach some agreements with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology on how to solve all of these science related problems.
It is important to note that individuals within the Agency have also taken steps to deal with water safety issues with their own resources, and remarkable among them is the research by Worlanyo Kwadjo Siabi (MV) the current Chief Executive of the Agency, which produced the Mwacafe plant and Mwacafe Plus. These products are widely applied in Ghana and the sub-region for solving iron, manganese, turbidity, color and low pH problems on point water systems. The mechanized version called Mwacafe Plus will be applied on small piped water systems in Ghana.
(V) Non-Compliance to Technical Standards by Sector Practitioners
The Chief Executive said the Agency has observed with much regrets that some of the sector practitioners have consistently failed to deliver water and sanitation services in accordance with sector standards and guidelines prescribed by CWSA. Consequently, they are also unwilling to report on their activities thus making it difficult for the Agency to monitor the services they provide and to report accurately on all sector activities frequently. In effect, some of them end up providing services, which are inadequate, poor in quality and unsustainable.
He said that, the existence of the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), which is the umbrella organization in the water sector responsible for coordinating all NGOs in the sector provides a window of opportunity for CWSA to effectively engage with them to harmonize the activities in the sector. The Agency will fall on the provision in its Legislative Instrument, (LI) 2007, to enforce quality and standards in service delivery. Production of the various documents and their dissemination to all partners and stakeholders is expected to bring about better collaboration and improvement in WASH delivery services.
NEEDS FOR REFORMS AND TRANSFORMATION OF THE RURAL WATER SUB-SECTOR
Touching on the pending CWSA reforms, the Chief Executive, Ing. Worlanyo Kwadjo Siabi (MV) explained that the environmental changes in Ghana resulting from waste management deficiencies, illegal mining often referred to as galamsey, open defecation, and inability of communities to cope with increasing complexities of technology in the water industry are posing threats for sustainability of rural water systems. Water safety challenges due to surface mining are getting out of control and increasingly, arsenic, fluoride, iron, manganese, and heavy metals as lead are finding their way into the groundwater reserves. The most disturbing phenomenon is that almost all of the water systems completed have not been tested for safety several years after they have been commissioned. The assumption that groundwater quality is stable is no longer tenable and implies that our rural communities are continuously using water supplies with uncertain quality.
Water losses on rural piped systems have increased steadily, resulting in higher unit production cost and water tariff compared with cost of water delivery on GWCL systems. Under the SmarterWash project which focused on data collection to ascertain the status of rural water supplies, CWSA observed that some 30-35% of point systems are non-functional while a large number piped water systems operate at marginal efficiency. The truth is that the “Community Ownership and Maintenance Concept” (COM) is non-functional. The Agency has tried and wasted resources on the concept over the years just to see whether it will function. Apart from the COM having challenges, CWSA has also tried for many years the involvement of private sector in the management of piped systems. The result is that most of these systems managed under COM or by the private sector are waiting to be rehabilitated and go through another cycle of misuse.
At this conference, he said, it is suggested that discussions are centered on other strategies, options and policy changes that will utilize the capacity the Agency built over the years to salvage the situation. It is expected that thoughts are focused on starting an incremental participation of the Agency in water provision and management to enable it conveniently apply new technologies to problem solving. CWSA must focus on service delivery and assure the rural folks that the Agency is willing to deal with these problems in order to meet the 2030 target of the UN SDGs for Ghana. He said that, as at the beginning of 2017, Ghana has over 35,000 boreholes fitted with hand pumps and 657 piped water systems (Limited mechanized, Small Community piped Systems or Small Towns Piped systems). The threat Ghana faces is the collapse of all of these water systems if this Review Conference is unable to make the decisions that will support sustainability. He emphasized that, failure to make the right decisions means that the Agency must then be thinking of additional resources to rebuild these water systems or rehabilitate them.
Concluding the overview of the sector, the Chief Executive pledged to lead the changes that would be agreed on during the conference and with the help of the Ministry, ensure that CWSA is strengthened to achieve its mandate towards sustainability of investments.