The Chinese government, through its China-Aid programme, has provieded 1,029 boreholes in some remote communities in all the 10 regions of Ghana.
The boreholes were provided under an economic and technical cooperation agreement signed between Ghana and China on December 15, 2015.
A regional breakdown of the boreholes is: Upper East 182, Upper West eight, Northern 155, Brong Ahafo 146, Ashanti 28, Western 148, Eastern 162, Central 10, Volta 148 and Greater Accra 13.
With the provision of the boreholes, 500,000 households in the beneficiary communities across the country can now have access to clean drinking water.
Fully funded by the Chinese government at a cost of $20 million, the boreholes were constructed by Jiangxi Zhongmei Engineering Construction Group Company Limited, a borehole drilling company.
A symbolic handover of the boreholes to the government was done at a ceremony at Densuso, a community in the Suhum District, last Saturday.
At the ceremony, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Shi Ting Wang, said the provision of the boreholes was in line with his government’s commitment to increase cooperation with Ghana.
He said the easy availability of water had corrected the situation where schoolchildren lost some learning hours because they had to trek every morning in search of water, among other challenges.
Mr Wang said the Chinese government was committed to strengthening bilateral relations with Africa, adding that already trade between Ghana and China was developing rapidly.
He also mentioned “the Kpong water supply expansion project, which has become a benchmark project for cooperation between the two countries”.
“In the next three years, China will focus on eight major initiatives, which include industrial promotion, facility connectivity, trade facilitation, green development and capacity building.
“The others are health and hygiene, humanities exchange and peace and security with African countries, including Ghana,” he added.
He said China was also committed to contributing to the government’s ‘Ghana beyond aid’ initiative.
The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, who inaugurated the boreholes, said the project was in tangent with the government’s aim of drilling 25,000 boreholes nationwide.
She said the project had increased access to potable water in most remote communities, adding that it was helping the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal Six on safe drinking water.
“According to the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF for water supply, Ghana had managed to reduce by half the number of people using unimproved sources of drinking water,” she said.
“Indeed, the 2015 JMP update also reports that 89 per cent of Ghana’s population has access to improved water source,” she added.
Ms Dapaah said the report, however, identified inequality between the rich and the poor and among geographical areas as a challenge in terms of water supply.
She said the government was, therefore, committed to supporting any initiative that would increase access to safe water and sanitation services.
She thanked the Chinese government for the support and urged the community members to help sustain the quality of water.
She also asked district and municipal assemblies to educate the people on hygienic ways of transporting, storing and using water, so that its good quality was not compromised at the point of use.