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GWCL operates at full capacity

Dr Clifford Abdallah Braimah - MD, Ghana Water Company Limited
Dr Clifford Abdallah Braimah - MD, Ghana Water Company Limited

The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) says majority of its water treatment plants across the country are producing water at full capacity.

According to the Director of Communications at the GWCL, The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) says majority of its water treatment plants across the country are producing water at full capacity.

According to the Director of Communications at the GWCL, Mr Stanley Martey, the improved water production was as a result of fewer pollutants in the water bodies from which the company extracted water.  

Production

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Mr Martey said: “The GWCL currently produces 192 million gallons per day on the average, as against the 249 million gallons demanded every day.”

He stated that the company also served 550,654 customers in all urban areas, which translated into a coverage of 77 per cent of urban areas.

The GWCL should produce additional 57 million gallons of water a day to achieve a 100 per cent water coverage in urban areas at current demands.

He explained that the company was partnering other agencies to bridge the gap between the demand for and supply of water across the country.

“In Accra, we don’t have a problem with water, since the Kpong and Weija water treatment plants are both producing at full capacity,” he explained.

Treatment plants

He said four treatment plants which were shut down last year as a result of the high turbidity of the Birim River and River Annu were currently operational.

At the height of the galamsey in 2017, the turbidity (hazy colourisation) of water in the Birim River was about 11,000 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU), as against the massively improved level of 50 NTU on the average for this month, the Daily Graphic’s independent checks have revealed.

He said the treatment plants in Konongo, Kyebi, Bunso and Anyinam which were among those heavily affected were all back in operation.

“After the implementation of Operation Vanguard, the water situation has improved, so we put all the treatment plants back into operation and they are all producing quality water,” he said.

He said the low turbidity of the Birim River, although not stable, had the water treatment plants producing quality water.

“The turbidity of the Birim River is on and off. We believe that some galamsey operators are still around the forest belt close to the Bunso and Anyinam area and are causing the deterioration of raw water,” he explained.

Galamsey

Asked whether the country was to experience intermittent water supply any time soon, Mr Martey said: "The GWCL does not envisage any problem now, although we are nearing the dry season."

He, however, expressed concern about the effects small-scale mining could have on the water bodies, since the ban on illegal mining had been lifted.
He added that effluent from industries, sand winning, the indiscriminate dumping of refuse into water bodies and fishing and farming activities along river bodies also contributed to the pollution of the water bodies.

He, therefore, asked industries and persons engaged in such activities to stop to enable the treatment plants to continue to produce enough water for everybody.

Teshie Water Desalination Plant

Mr Martey said some areas in Accra were experiencing intermittent water supply as a result of the shut down of the Teshie Water Desalination Plant, a public/private partnership water plant, to allow the government to renegotiate some terms in the contract signed with Messrs Befessa, the private firm working on the plant.

He explained that the Teshie treatment plant was first put out of operation on January 1, 2018 due to a deterioration in the quality of water it produced and some renegotiations that needed to be done.

He said the plant was later opened during that year but had to be closed down again.
 
Mr Martey, however, indicated that the renegotiations were still ongoing but far advanced.

"We are nearing conclusion on the negotiations and when we are done we will make the outcome known to the public and then request that the plant be put back into operation,” he said.

Way forward
 
He said the GWCL had plans for building new treatment plants and expand existing ones to improve access to water across the country.

“The GWCL and the government have a vision to ensure a 100 per cent access to water by 2025; therefore, our plan is to lay more pipes and improve our infrastructure.

“Working towards the vision, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will, next week, cut the sod for the construction of a water treatment plant in Navrongo to improve water production in the area,” Mr Martey revealed.

GWCL workers

Meanwhile, workers of the Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU) of the Trades Union Congress have appealed to President  Akufo-Addo to buy out the GWCL from the Teshie Desalination Plant  to save it from accruing further unnecessary debts.

The workers described the water supply agreement with Messrs Befessa as “a needless intervention”, saying the GWCL had been paying debts with money that should have been used to build the capacity of the workers and improve equipment for operations.

A petition signed by the Secretary General of the PUWU, Mr Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi, said per the agreement, the GWCL was required to pay capacity charge of $1.4 million per month to Messrs Befessa, whether the plant was working or not.

“Again, the GWCL is obliged to pay the electricity bills of the desalination plant, which stands at an average of GH¢3 million per month (for 2017).

“The desalination plant was a needless intervention.

However, political influence was brought to bear on the GWCL to ensure the construction of the plant,” it added.

The petition further stated that the plant, estimated to cost $126 million, was to produce 60,000 cubic metres (m3) of water a day,

compared to the Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project estimated at $273 million with funding from the government and China Exim Bank to produce 200,000 m3 daily.

The Deputy General Secretary of the Public Utility Workers Union of Ghana, Mr Amiibah Nyaabaa, told the Daily Graphic in Accra that the Ghana Water Company was being forced to secure a loan of $10 million to defray the accumulated capacity charge.

He said the country could do without the desalination plant because already the GWCL was constructing a designated line from Kpong to serve Teshie-Nungua and its environs.

“Management is constructing a designated line from Kpong which is about 95 per cent complete, and when completed it will serve residents of Teshie-Nungua throughout the day,” he added.


Fact sheet

Four water treatment plants were shut down last year due to galamsey activities in the Eastern and Ashanti Regions.

They were the Konongo, Kyebi, Bunso and Anyinam water treatment plants.




, the improved water production was as a result of fewer pollutants in the water bodies from which the company extracted water.  

Production

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Mr Martey said: “The GWCL currently produces 192 million gallons per day on the average, as against the 249 million gallons demanded every day.”

He stated that the company also served 550,654 customers in all urban areas, which translated into a coverage of 77 per cent of urban areas.

The GWCL should produce additional 57 million gallons of water a day to achieve a 100 per cent water coverage in urban areas at current demands.

He explained that the company was partnering other agencies to bridge the gap between the demand for and supply of water across the country.

“In Accra, we don’t have a problem with water, since the Kpong and Weija water treatment plants are both producing at full capacity,” he explained.

Treatment plants

He said four treatment plants which were shut down last year as a result of the high turbidity of the Birim River and River Annu were currently operational.

At the height of the galamsey in 2017, the turbidity (hazy colourisation) of water in the Birim River was about 11,000 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU), as against the massively improved level of 50 NTU on the average for this month, the Daily Graphic’s independent checks have revealed.

He said the treatment plants in Konongo, Kyebi, Bunso and Anyinam which were among those heavily affected were all back in operation.

“After the implementation of Operation Vanguard, the water situation has improved, so we put all the treatment plants back into operation and they are all producing quality water,” he said.

He said the low turbidity of the Birim River, although not stable, had the water treatment plants producing quality water.

“The turbidity of the Birim River is on and off. We believe that some galamsey operators are still around the forest belt close to the Bunso and Anyinam area and are causing the deterioration of raw water,” he explained.

Galamsey

Asked whether the country was to experience intermittent water supply any time soon, Mr Martey said: "The GWCL does not envisage any problem now, although we are nearing the dry season."

He, however, expressed concern about the effects small-scale mining could have on the water bodies, since the ban on illegal mining had been lifted.
He added that effluent from industries, sand winning, the indiscriminate dumping of refuse into water bodies and fishing and farming activities along river bodies also contributed to the pollution of the water bodies.

He, therefore, asked industries and persons engaged in such activities to stop to enable the treatment plants to continue to produce enough water for everybody.

Teshie Water Desalination Plant

Mr Martey said some areas in Accra were experiencing intermittent water supply as a result of the shut down of the Teshie Water Desalination Plant, a public/private partnership water plant, to allow the government to renegotiate some terms in the contract signed with Messrs Befessa, the private firm working on the plant.

He explained that the Teshie treatment plant was first put out of operation on January 1, 2018 due to a deterioration in the quality of water it produced and some renegotiations that needed to be done.

He said the plant was later opened during that year but had to be closed down again.
 
Mr Martey, however, indicated that the renegotiations were still ongoing but far advanced.

"We are nearing conclusion on the negotiations and when we are done we will make the outcome known to the public and then request that the plant be put back into operation,” he said.

Way forward
 
He said the GWCL had plans for building new treatment plants and expand existing ones to improve access to water across the country.

“The GWCL and the government have a vision to ensure a 100 per cent access to water by 2025; therefore, our plan is to lay more pipes and improve our infrastructure.

“Working towards the vision, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will, next week, cut the sod for the construction of a water treatment plant in Navrongo to improve water production in the area,” Mr Martey revealed.

GWCL workers

Meanwhile, workers of the Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU) of the Trades Union Congress have appealed to President  Akufo-Addo to buy out the GWCL from the Teshie Desalination Plant  to save it from accruing further unnecessary debts.

The workers described the water supply agreement with Messrs Befessa as “a needless intervention”, saying the GWCL had been paying debts with money that should have been used to build the capacity of the workers and improve equipment for operations.

A petition signed by the Secretary General of the PUWU, Mr Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi, said per the agreement, the GWCL was required to pay capacity charge of $1.4 million per month to Messrs Befessa, whether the plant was working or not.

“Again, the GWCL is obliged to pay the electricity bills of the desalination plant, which stands at an average of GH¢3 million per month (for 2017).

“The desalination plant was a needless intervention.

However, political influence was brought to bear on the GWCL to ensure the construction of the plant,” it added.

The petition further stated that the plant, estimated to cost $126 million, was to produce 60,000 cubic metres (m3) of water a day,

compared to the Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project estimated at $273 million with funding from the government and China Exim Bank to produce 200,000 m3 daily.

The Deputy General Secretary of the Public Utility Workers Union of Ghana, Mr Amiibah Nyaabaa, told the Daily Graphic in Accra that the Ghana Water Company was being forced to secure a loan of $10 million to defray the accumulated capacity charge.

He said the country could do without the desalination plant because already the GWCL was constructing a designated line from Kpong to serve Teshie-Nungua and its environs.

“Management is constructing a designated line from Kpong which is about 95 per cent complete, and when completed it will serve residents of Teshie-Nungua throughout the day,” he added.


Fact sheet

Four water treatment plants were shut down last year due to galamsey activities in the Eastern and Ashanti Regions.

They were the Konongo, Kyebi, Bunso and Anyinam water treatment plants.