The Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) is the lead public sector Agency in Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) within the sub-sector, with the object of facilitating the provision of safe water and related sanitation and hygiene services to Rural Communities and Small Towns through a decentralized Service Delivery Approach. Until the establishment of CWSA, the then Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation (GWSC) now Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) was responsible for both urban and rural water supply since 1965. The Community Water and Sanitation Division (CWSD) a semi-autonomous unit under the then GWSC was created to manage rural water and sanitation delivery due to the neglect of the water and sanitation needs of small towns and rural communities. In 1998, an Act of Parliament, Act 564 was passed to transform the CWSD into an autonomous Agency.
The CWSA 2018 Review Conference started on 30th July and ended on 3rd August 2018. The Conference which was held at Anita Hotel, Ejisu in Ashanti Region was under the theme ‘‘One Year of implementing CWSA Reforms: Achievements, Challenges, Lessons and Actions to Consolidate the Gains”. The objectives of the conference were the following:
- To evaluate the achievements and challenges of CWSA’s pilot participation in the management of piped systems
- To assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the new management model
- To document the lessons learnt in the participation of the management of piped systems
- To share knowledge on concepts and innovations on the reforms
- To formulate strategies to consolidate and scale-up the gains in the reform programme
KEY OUTCOMES OF THE 2018 REVIEW CONFERENCE
The key outcomes of the conference were as follows:
- CWSA’s participation in the management of Small Town Piped Water Systems has improved water service delivery in the pilot communities
- The Agency should scale up its participation in the management of Small Town Piped Water System taking into consideration the achievements made so far
- The Agency should take steps to enhance the human capacity of staff, establish a new organizational culture, increase innovation and technology to support the transformation required in the sub sector
- The Agency should solicit support from all sector partners including Traditional Authorities, Academia, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, Private Sector, Development Partners, Media and communities for the success of the Reforms
- The Agency would require huge investments to make WASH facilities perform optimally in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG)
- The Agency should adopt scientific benchmarks to assess the performance of water systems under the Reforms
- The Agency should redefine its Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept to involve private sector companies which are willing to have equity or share in investments to participate in water management
The Agency used the 2018 conference as a platform to launch the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of its establishment (1998-2018) and to showcase its achievements over the period.
Over the past 20 years, the Agency has provided 1,022 Piped Water Schemes of varying sizes, 28,659 boreholes, 82,339 household latrines, 5,252 Institutional latrines and enhanced the capacity of several sector partners across the country. However, sustaining these interventions to maximize the health benefits of people living in small towns and rural communities remained a major challenge over the years.
This situation triggered consensus for organizational reforms. Consequently, a Review Conference was held in Fumesua, Ashanti Region in May, 2017 to synthesise proposals from both internal and external stakeholders on the best model suitable for the delivery of sustainable WASH services. The consensus reached at the Review Conference was for CWSA to expand her mandate to include direct management of Piped Water Systems whilst maintaining her role as a facilitator in the provision and management of Point Source facilities, water related sanitation and hygiene services.
The overall goal of the Reforms is to achieve sustainability through creation of wealth and jobs required to improve water system operation and management, build capacity, establish a new organizational culture and increase innovation in the sub sector to improve WASH services delivery. Under the Reforms, the Agency has so far participated in the management of 64 Water Systems and deployed 464 Water Systems Management Staff across the country. The Agency has also formulated a new Strategy and developed a Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) spanning 2018 to 2019 to guide the implementation of the reforms. The Agency for the first time has signed Performance Contracts with its Regional Offices.
Key sector partners namely; Ministry of Sanitation & Water Resources, Parliamentary Select Committee on Works, Housing, Water & Sanitation, Local Government Services Secretariat, Ashanti RCC, MMDAs, KNUST, UNICEF, CONIWAS, PUWU and GWCL participated in the review conference to support the Reforms and made significant contributions on the transformation required by CWSA to improve WASH services delivery and sustain sector investments.
CWSA will not relent on its efforts in ensuring that WASH facilities are sustainably managed to deliver safe water, water-related sanitation and hygiene services in small towns and rural communities with the support of all stakeholders.