The water treatment market in Ghana

Like many countries in Africa, Ghana has its own challenges when it comes to providing clean water. While in certain regions of Africa the problem stems from a lack of water, in Ghana it is mainly due to the fact that many of the accessible water sources are contaminated .

According to data from WaterAid , 4.4 million people in Ghana still do not have access to a clean water supply, and 82% of the population does not have decent sanitation, which translates into the discharge of fecal water and/or contaminated into the water flow, causing diseases such as cholera.

The growth of the population in Ghana, especially in urban areas, translates into houses with insufficient or defective sanitation infrastructure: Contaminated water is poured from the bathroom or toilet into the water flows that go to the rest of the houses, causing a vicious circle. Buying water from street vendors, who often also distribute water in poor hygienic conditions, does not solve the problem.

In rural areas, the need is even more pressing, since contaminated water sources are compounded by water scarcity , especially in times like the harmattan, which brings with it meteorological conditions similar to those of the desert: humidity decreases, it prevents the formation of rain and can create dust clouds that can become dust or sand storms.

Ghana, closer to achieving drinking water supply to the entire population

However, despite the fact that there is still work to be done, the projects underway are giving good results. Within the national action plan, the Government wants to turn Ghana into a developed country by 2029, which implies, among other things, access to water, sanitation and hygiene services for the entire population. Currently, 8 out of 10 people in Ghana have access to drinking water , which is an encouraging figure.

According to the 2021 Population and Housing Census , published by the Ghana Statistics Service, 87.7 % of the population have access to basic water supply services. However, there is a disparity between urban and rural areas . Around 96.4% of the urban population has access to basic water supply services, while in the case of the rural population this figure drops to 74.4%.

The goal of the Government of Ghana is clear: By 2030, 100% of the population of Ghana will use an improved source of drinking water. To this end, various projects have been initiated, including improved coordination between the different public and private entities in charge of resource management and infrastructure improvement, such as the Ghana Water Company Ltd (GWCL), the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), the Water Resources Commission (WRC), the Water and Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorates (EHSD), and the Schools of Hygiene.

Another essential factor to achieve the challenge of “water for all” set by the Government is the financing of the necessary infrastructures. Last October Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia , Ghana’s Vice President, announced a $ 740 million investment in various clean water supply projects across the country, bringing them closer to target. Other projects in development also have support from organizations such as UNICEF , Global Waters or USAID .

A fact that Dr. Bawumia highlights , and which is representative of Ghana’s progress in providing drinking water for the entire population, is that in the last five years no case of cholera has been registered, one of the diseases that It affected more people in Ghana precisely because of contaminated water, poor hygiene, and faulty or insufficient sanitation infrastructure.

The next challenge, supplying drinking water with local resources

According to a study , the best way to guarantee the water supply in Ghana to 100% of the population is to take into account the local particularities of each area when implementing a solution for this supply.

Ghana has urban, peri-urban and rural areas that have often grown without urban planning, due to spikes in population growth, and do not always coincide with designated administrative areas. This means that unified solutions are implemented by areas that have the same need, but not the same cause or origin of the problem, nor at the same level, so that the inhabitants of areas such as Haatso , Ashogman or Abokobi continue to face the same problems : poor water quality, erratic supply and high cost of supply.

The solution is that the infrastructures are defined and implemented at the municipal or district level, not centrally, so that they can be adapted to local particularities and needs. A model to follow could be the South African system, based on a well-organized decentralized model , which has allowed enormous progress in the provision of infrastructure.

Ghana is advancing at a good pace to be able to provide drinking water and hygiene and sanitation infrastructures to the entire population, but the centralized model that it uses for current management is a problem in meeting the challenge of “water for all” that has been set. Perhaps the improvement of the coordination between the different public and private entities that we have mentioned before will be able to advance in this sense and bridge the gap between the current good figures and the definitive 100%.