Water Citizens Network condemns prepaid water meters

Water Citizens Network (WCN) of Ghana, a civil society organisation, has come out strongly against the prepaid water metres policy the Ghana Water Company Limited intend to use for a full cost recovery.

According to a statement issued in Accra, signed by Mr Leonard Shang-Quartey, a convener of WCN, any financing policy that excludes a portion of the population from access is not a sustainable means of ensuring universal access to water.

This suggestion was made by the Network in Accra ahead of the commemoration of World Water Day.

The statement indicated that a sustainable financing mechanism is one that achieves both regular and predictable sources of revenue for the supply of water; and also provides universal access for the population.

Mr Shang-Quarter said the Network recognizes Government’s increased investment in infrastructure, but also notes that much could be done for rural water just as much could be done to ensure the sustainability of new projects and also for achieving universal access to water.

He noted in the statement that, since the theme for this year’s World Water Day was “Water and Sustainable Development”, it was important to emphasize on water conservation and usage linked to address issues on sustainable access for all humans and living organisms whose lives depended on water.

The Convener indicated that the Network believes universal access to water could only be achieved through means of collective financing which charges usage fees through taxes and provides free access to collectively determined fixed volumes of water at the point of usage.

He stated that although the Government deserves commendation for the massive investments into urban water provision over the past five years, these investments will be ruined in the immediate future if the issues of sustainable source of financing maintenance and operation of new plants and equipment were not addressed.

Mr Shang-Quarter also noted that it is obvious that tariff contributions from customers alone cannot fully support the financing of maintenance and operation cost and doing so will deny people without economic means adequate access to water.

“We call for the introduction of a water levy which should be introduced as a percentage of property taxes/rates collected by the Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Assemblies.

“Funds realised from this means could be paid directly from the District Assemblies to the Ghana Water Company Limited and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency”.

According to the statement, media reports and coverage as well as interviewing of cholera patients indicated that the disease was contracted as a result of eating foods prepared with unhygienic water.

“Avoiding such incidences will require a financing mechanism which does not restrict access but provides safe drinking water to all”.

The Water Citizens Network is a network of civil society organisations campaigning and contributing to development policies aimed at universal access to water and the realisation of the human right to water in Ghana.

This article was originally published by ghanaweb.com

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