Stakeholders in Ghana’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector led by the government of Ghana began a performance assessment on Thursday to boost access to services and strengthen emergency preparedness to prevent water-related disasters.
Freda Prempeh, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, who opened the review conference, said the overarching policy objective was to determine what was working for consolidation and change course and embrace new thinking and methodologies if the old ways no longer yield the desired results.
On access to water, Prempeh said at least 88 percent of population have access to basic water services, which is close to the global average of 90 percent, with 42 percent accessing safely managed water.
“There is rapid expansion in urban water supply systems and access to safe drinking water in the rural communities also continue to witness considerable improvement,” said the minister.
She added that 1.2 million households acquired basic sanitation services between 2010 and 2021 and over 300,000 toilets constructed under programmes supported by Development Partners including UNICEF with Support from Canada and Netherlands.
Other projects, she said were supported by the World Bank, Global Communities and RING project with funding from USAID, World Vision, African Development Bank, SNV and IRC.
On the approach to emergency preparedness, Prempeh called for a new way of thinking and mainstreaming disaster prevention into WASH sector policy and interventions.
Amid the reality and impact of climate change, she said change mitigation and prevention, disaster prevention, and sustainability must become part of the concerns of the sector.
“The recent case of the Akosombo Dam spillage requires us to emphasize the integration of emergency preparedness in our discourse on WASH. Such angles may not be conventional when discussing WASH issues, but changing developments require us to expand our scope of thinking,” the minister urged.
The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) said at least 36,000 persons were displaced when the 150 rural communities submerged in devastating floods in southern Ghana following the spillage of the Volta Dam in October.
NADMO said the dam spillage was due to excess water in the dam resulting from heavy rains in September and the spillage of the Bagre Dam upstream in Burkina Faso.