Water Crisis in Greater Accra: Report from Tema

For months, the water supply has been erratic in Community 11, the area of Tema, Ghana where we live. Since I came back to Ghana about one month ago, we have had water only seven days.

In more densly populated areas in Tema like community 4 and Michel Camp where relatives live, there has been no water at all for a full month. That might not impress many Accra folk who have been without piped water for years(!), but in our communities we are used to water flowing and are therefore poorly prepared for a sudden halt in services. Now desperate Tema people are collecting water from the open gutters…

Although there are rumors for the cause and duration of this water problem (Teshie and Nungua is getting our water / pipes are old / there has been a major leak etc), there seems to be no reliable information to be had. An undated(!) entry at Ghana Broadcasting Corporation quotes the responsible minister, Mr Bagbin, as saying

“government will soon go into negotiation with Duraplast Limited to find ways for the company to supply the Ghana Water Company with high quality PVC pipes to replace the outdated once to ensure equal distribution”.

A statement that leave me with many questions. Another article, now from The Chronicle is looking at the longterm water problem. In it one of my Ghanaian heros, Mr Azeem from Ghana Integrity Initiative, claims 1,49 billion USD is needed to solve the problem of water supply by 2020. He also is sitting on the very interesting information that Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) is currently supplying half of the demand or 551,000 cubic metres per day, as against a daily demand of 939.000 cubic metres.

GWCL provides no such information on their website (although they ironically do promote an “international training in customer management”). Sadly, I have seen nothing on news websites and not heard any announcements on radio. (Has there been any info in newspapers or on TV?). The informative website WaterWiki has more statistics, but no up-to-date info on what is happening in the area now. Under the headline of Sanitation status for Accra /Water supply, they matter-of-factly state the sad truth:

“in-plot piped water supply is much less frequent in low-income communities”.

What is going on? Where is the water? What is the Tema and Ashaiman municipalities doing about it? Why is GWCL not informing its customers about what is happening? (As they are able to still serve us with bills, we suspect they can if they want) Who is responsible for the effects of this drought of the pipes – like cholera and other diseases? And where is the outrage?

Read an earlier post on water here.

Picture borrowed from iconarchive.com