The perennial water problem in Agotime Kpetoe – the capital of the Agotime-Ziope District in the Volta Region is far from over as plans by the government, through the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) to resolve the issue, have hit the rocks due to lack of funds.
An amount of 11.5 million Euros sought from the RaiffeisenBank International AG of Austria and approved by Parliament in the year 2020 could not solve the problem as the project was allegedly diverted to Ziope – a neighboring community.
Officials in charge have explained the project is to carry the water from Adaklu-Waya to Kpetoe. “We were to build a booster station, transmission lines, high-level tanks or water towers so that the water would be pumped into them and distributed to the communities. The water would be treated at Adidome on the banks of the River Volta 24/7, and the water beyond the Kpong river flows into the sea. So there would be enough water. But we would need funds to lift the water from the valley to the high grounds for the people to be able to access it,” explained Mr. Kofi Mensah Sebuabeh who heads the Volta Regional office of the CWSA.
He stated that though Kpetoe was scheduled to benefit from Phase 3 of the project, the inadequacy in funding caused the project to be rerouted from Adaklu to Ziope because of the elevated nature of the geography of the area.
Kpetoe, he said, has been rescheduled to benefit from the Phase 4 of the project even though he has no idea when funding for that phase would be secured for it to officially commence.
“The commencement would depend on when we get the money. It is not our money; it is a credit. What we have now is a loan for the Phase 3. We would still have to go for the same credit for the Phase 4 from a bank in Austria,” Sebuabeh stated.
At a stakeholders’ workshop last Monday at the instance of the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Charles Agbeve, it emerged that members of the community would have to continue enduring the current water crisis in the town for several more years, unless some drastic measures are introduced.
At the meeting the team from the CWSA expressed their disappointment at how the community allowed the existing water system worth about 500, 000 Euros to break down for which the town is finding itself in such situation.
“They had a water system that cost over €500,000 and it is spoilt. They couldn’t manage it well. You see these big communities, when we do water system for you and you run it down, and then money comes and you want us to spend it repairing the one you damaged, then it means water won’t reach the smaller communities that do not have people to fight for them to have water. Remember ‘water is life’, so we would be extinguishing the lives of the smaller communities,” stated Mr. Sebuabeh.
He said “Until we come and take over their systems, they are their own managers now. They have been selling this water since 2005 till date. It has been over 15 years now, how much have they accrued? And where are the monies they accrued?
“Because during that time, we said whichever money comes, it should be put in three accounts, that is, Sanitation Account, an Operation and Management Account and a Capital Replacement Account. Because we know a day would come when your pumps would go off and you will have to fall on a big chunk of money to enable you buy a new pump, but unfortunately the water and sanitation team does not operate any of the accounts. They are supposed to support sanitation and capital replacement but they haven’t, and that is why the policy has changed now.”
“The reason why our policy has changed from the communities managing their own water now is because of what the problem is causing. At least if they maintained whatever has been done for them, a large chunk of the community would have been having water,” he noted.
He explained the new policy to mean that “We’ll find our staff to manage the water system, and whatever amount of money is accrued, it is sent to Accra, and then when there is a problem Accra can come and work on it for you”.
The MP for the area also expressed his disappointment at how the community has managed the water system down leading to the current water crisis in the town. Hon Agbeve urged the management of the Kpetoe Water Board to discuss the way forward in view of the negative impact of the situation on the people of the town.
“I live in Kpetoe so I am very familiar with the situation here and so we need to engage. I think the way the Water Board is being managed here lives much to be desired. Honestly speaking, if you ask my opinion I would wish Community Water takes over completely and bring in professionals – trained people to run the place for us. The community must agree that, this system, the way it is being managed is not good so let’s move everybody and let Community Water take over. When the community starts and the chiefs lead the way, I mean who are you? That is why I strongly believe that it is the owners of the land – our fathers who can rescue us from this crisis, and that is why in my engagements I involve them a lot. The water crisis here is not a partisan issue and that is why on this issue we are all united,” the MP stated.
But Is there any Hope for water in Kpetoe soon?
Asked whether there is any hope for Kpetoe to have water soon, Mr Sebuabeh said “We haven’t thrown our hands in the air on Kpetoe though. What they have now can be revived to give the people some water; it might not be for the entire Kpetoe, but even if we can give water to 50% of Kpetoe that would be okay. So I suggest the community gather themselves and repair that system, if they need experts we would support them. But I don’t know how much it would cost.
“What we built for them is a low-sound filtration system. They don’t do much maintenance. All you do is to scoop the surface of the sand. It is not entirely spoilt. The concrete structures are still there. So bring the sand back inside and pull the water into it and filter it. I think they can do it,” he stated.