By Caleb Kuleke, GNA
Mafi Kumase (V/R), Dec. 1 GNA - Mr Michael Yaw Gyato, Deputy Minister, Sanitation and Water Resources, has said government is impressed with chiefs and people of Mafi Kumase in the Central Tongu District of the Volta Region in bringing water to the community.
“Considering the huge number of communities that require water supply and the limited resources available, government is always impressed by the initiatives of the communities such as Mafi Kumase to activate the self-help spirit to bring some amenities and relief unto themselves," he stated.
Mr Gyato was speaking at the 30th “Tsiza"- (Water festival) and launch of sanitation improvement project of the chiefs and people of Mafi Kumase on the theme: “Self - Help Development, Reconnecting our past with the Future: The Turn of Sanitation."
He said stories in other communities regarding management of water systems were unpleasant therefore Mafi Kumase's 30 years of efficient and effective management of water system was worth celebrating and stated government's resolve to implement a project that would improve access to Mafi Kumase's water system and to ensure reliability of water supply to every household within the community and its surroundings.
The Deputy Minister said the challenge of managing water systems by communities and the high incidence of facility breakdowns and funds mismanagement was leading the Ministry to take a second look at operations and maintenance of water systems in communities.
Mr Gyato lamented that some of the facilities provided at high costs were left to deteriorate and causing the state huge sums of money to rehabilitate
He said the vision of the Ministry in respect to water provision was to ensure that every community across the country had access to potable drinking water.
The Deputy Minister said that vision was not negotiable and would be pursued with all the seriousness it deserved, with Ghana Water Company leading the charge by concentrating on urban centres whilst Community Water and Sanitation Agency and other development partners focusing on rural areas.
Mr Philipp Stalder, the Swiss Ambassador, also commended Mafi Kumasi for its effective management of the water system, adding that the celebration was a unique story of success and efficiency of local governance.
Togbe Brebtua Asafo IV, Mankralo of Mafi Traditional Area, said the community's self-initiated water project currently supplied potable water to 22 communities with total population of 15,000, leading to the eradication of guinea worm, bilharzia and other water -related diseases that bedeviled the area in the past.
He said though people were sceptical and doubtful of the capability of the people of Mafi Kumase in managing and sustaining the water system, they were able to prove the sceptics wrong by successfully running the system for three decades without outside managerial and technical support.
Togbe Asafo said the community's Development Committee continued to undertake rehabilitation and expansion works on the system due to increasing population and its corresponding higher demand to ensure continuous and adequate delivery of potable water to the people.
Mr Worlanyo Kwadjo Siabi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), also lauded the Community's efforts, adding that CWSA had a transition team in place to convert the 5-District Water System and Mafi Kumase water system into the current reforms being undertaken by the sector.
He said the reform was aimed at creating a support mechanism for sustained operation and maintenance of potable water system, especially boreholes and hand pumps.
“It is also to increase access to water towards meeting Sustainable Development Goal 6, ensure effective delivery of quality, reliable and affordable water services to rural communities on sustainable basis and improve access to sanitation and hygiene services to maximize health benefits," he stated
The water festival is celebrated by the people to reflect on the impact the absence of potable water had had on their lives three decades ago.
In the late 1980's the only source of drinking water of the people of Mafi Kumase was infested by guinea worm, resulting in many deaths.
The situation compelled public and civil servants, especially teachers and nurses to refuse postings to the area, with some natives leaving the community.
GNA was told the situation became serious when one Mr Kolly Dorcoo, a native, left for Zurich in Switzerland to study engineering and after years, came with his Swiss working colleague Martin Wegelin and with support of the community members installed a natural sand -based water filters system in the community to improve the water quality.