Like many neighboring countries, Ghana is a West African nation that faces big water supply problems in its ever-expanding urban centers.
Twenty percent of the population are without access to clean water due to various growth to water ratio problems – particularly in the capital region, Accra-Temma City-Region.
The Conversation’s article “Why local solutions are best for urban water supply in Ghana” reports:
“The growth of urban and peri-urban areas in the region has been spontaneous and unplanned. This has resulted in high competition between settlements for water. But the governance system of providing services to residents is weak and centralized – which adds to the problem.
The city-region has undergone a major urban and economic transformation in the past four decades. This growth has been driven mainly through freer trade, the rise in local and foreign investments, demand for homeownership, innovations in building, and weak institutional guidance for housing delivery. As a result, growth in housing has gone ahead without the necessary services and infrastructure.
Because of the inadequacy of piped infrastructure and unreliable supply of water, households are using other sources. Private water tanker operators have emerged to supply domestic water, and most households drink packaged water. These strategies add to costs for households.”
A potential solution would involve a move away from centralized, monopolized utilities attempting to provide water for the entire nation and give water supply provision duties to municipal and district-level authorities.
In doing this, each regional authority could assess the needs at a local level and work on the best possible water supply method for that region or area.
A little competition between different municipalities wouldn’t hurt either.
While fraught with its own issues, South Africa has a good decentralized infrastructure model that Ghana could adopt as a model, to begin with.
The World Bank has also completed wide-ranging work and has good guidance for municipal water supplies.