Three social investment organisations have inaugurated a new rural water delivery model that ensures the sustainability of safe water systems in small towns and villages.
United States of America-based Water4, working through its local partner, Access Development Ghana, with the support of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), has provided access to safe water systems to 54,000 people in the Wassa East District in the Western Region in a model that is affordable, sustainable and accessible.
With more than GH¢4 million invested in the water systems, the project will scale up to provide water to cover 90,000 of the people by October next year, with an ultimate vision to cover all the 100,000 population of the district.
The water system christened, NUMA, delivers processed water in three forms to the communities – standpipes for the community to buy from also known as NUMA Node, while those with meters directly to their homes is called the NUMA Now.
The water is usually sourced from the ground and processed at a central point they refer to as the NUMA Nexus.
At a ceremony to formally celebrate the achievements and announce the existence of the project in Wassa Edwinase in the Wassa East District last week, the Country Director of Access Development (AD), Mr Yidana Mahami, said the organisation, the local partners of Water4, had support from the Dutch government (RVO), to develop the “flexible and financially supportive system”, with their first port of call being the Wassa East District for piloting.
He said the project started in 2015 with a goal to provide “safe and sustainable water which we call NUMA to communities in the district, using various innovative technologies.”
Members of the public are able to buy the water at low prices from 20Gp from the public standpipes (NUMA Nodes) or connect them to their residents with meters (NUMA Now). The small funds raised from the sale of water is used to maintain the system.
The Operations Manager of AD Ghana, Mr Samuel Edusei, said so far, the partnership had delivered 109 nodes and 48 Nows under professional management where service delivery agreements were signed with the clients.
He said six healthcare facilities in the district had been connected to the water system with assessment and evaluation underway in 26 other healthcare facilities and 80 schools for them to benefit from access to safe and quality water.
Mr Edusei said the NUMA system addressed key sustainability factors in the system and that the lessons learnt would be applied in future districts and areas of operations in Ghana and elsewhere.
“All Numa water systems utilise solar equipment for pumping and filtration at each water station to reduce the environmental impact of AD Ghana’s water service delivery chain,” he said.
The Director of Programmes at Water4, Mr Richard Lee Moore III, said the Numa water model fitted into the government’s vision of delivering safe and quality water at affordable rates across towns and cities.
“This is being done through professionalisation of service delivery and generation of revenue from satisfied customers. As more water is consumed, the brighter the future will be for its people and economy,” Mr Moore said.
He disclosed that towards reaching the 90 per cent coverage goal by next year, 40,000 more people, 80 schools and 20 healthcare facilities would be connected in the district.
The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) six on access to water and sanitation services for all, required new strategies and investments in the rural water sector.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Head of Water Directorate of the ministry, Mr Donnan Tay, the minister commended Water4 and AD Ghana for their cutting-edge and professional solution to provide the underserved, using social business principles to sustainably deliver access to clean, reliable and affordable water to rural communities.
Mrs Dapaah said such an innovation that supported the system with infrastructure and service delivery agreements with the communities was useful because the government alone could not do it all.
The minister also said the country had also made considerable strides in providing safe water to the people as research indicated that eight out of every 10 Ghanaians used basic drinking water services.
“I believe that with the government’s commitment to providing ‘water for all’ by 2025, in partnership with development partners and other stakeholders such as AD, Water4 and RVO, we are poised to achieving the SDG 6 by 2030,” Mrs Dapaah said.