The Akatsi District in the Volta Region allocated GHS 50,000.00 (approximately USD$ 29,456.82) towards analysing water quality and providing WATSAN training and monitoring in 2012. Allocating money towards these endeavours is part of measures undertaken by the Assembly to ensure the continuous supply of potable water to local residents.
This came to light when some members of the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre Advisory Board paid visit to familiarize themselves with water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in that district.
Akatsi is one of the three pilot districts of the Triple-S Project where the service delivery approach to water services is being piloted.
The visit was also to offer the board insight into some activities of the IRC projects in the country and experience the challenges facing the projects at the grassroots level. As a result, they interacted with the Akatsi District Assembly and visited some WASH facilities.
Interaction with District Assembly officials
The team engaged with the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Akatsi, Honourable Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, the Presiding Member of the District Assembly Honourable Togbe Samlafo IV and some staff of the District Assembly.
Akatsi District though touted to be one of the best performing districts when talking about rural water services in the Volta Region. However , the baseline survey results indicates all is not well with their water facilities.
During a presentation given by the Head of the District Water and Sanitation Team (DWST) Mr. Seth Damasah-Head, on results of baseline data collected on sustainability and functionality of water facilities in the district, it was evident that all the Water Boards and Watsan Committees needed capacity building.
He said Water Boards for example who were trained ten years ago, have not had any refresher training on their roles and responsibilities though new people have joined the board.
The score on the performance of the Watsan Committees was averagely below 50% and likewise for Water Boards. Some water facilities constructed in the district didn’t also have any management structures at all, in contravention of the Community Operation and Management concept being implemented by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency.
The district is however taking steps to address challenges identified. The DWST has been directed to liaise with the finance office to conduct an audit of all the water facilities in the district.
According to Mr. Nortsu-Kotoe, they have resolved to ensure that all new constructions take care of WATSAN formation and training, and water quality analysis.
He said “we commit to ensure anyone who provides water for the people of this district, will do so according to national standards”.
“It is good to be here to see what you are doing, the challenges on the ground and how we can help you solve them.” Said Mr Nico Terra, Director of IRC.
Visit to a School WASH Facility
IRC Supervisory Board members at the Akatsi Duawodome Basic Schools toilet
The entourage visited the Akatsi Duawodome Basic Schools where the Assistant Headteacher of the school; Mr C.F.K Amaglo conducted the team around a four- seater toilet facility for teachers and pupils ,constructed with a rainwater harvesting and storage tank facility. Though the rain harvesting facility is intended to collect water for pupils to wash their hands with soap ,after visiting the toilet it was not functional at the time of the visit.
Mr. Amaglo explained there was no water in the storage facility because there has not been any rain the last few months. They appealed for a public standpipe facility near the school to be extended to their compound to supply water to pupils.
The Akatsi Small Town Water Scheme
The team was conducted round the Akatsi Town Water Scheme by the Chairman of the Water Board, Mr William Atimu. The facility commissioned in April 2004 has a 380 cubic metre storage capacity. It currently has 47 stand pipes and 390 individual household connections. It operates six submersible pumps out of which only four were
Akatsi Small Town Water Board members interacting with the IRC Supervisory Board Members
Even though the Akatsi Small Town Water Scheme appears to be running smoothly, it has its own challenges.
According to the Water Board Chairman, Mr. Atimu they try to ensure that water flows to the entire community on a daily basis but “it’s a real challenge”. “We have no money in our account at the moment” Mr Atimu said . This is because the Water Board spent over GHS 20,000 cedis (almost $11,800 dollars) to procure a submersible pump and repair three others ,in addition to extending water to other parts of Akatsi township.
Feedback after field visit
Mr Terra said “the visit has given us an open and fair insight into the activities of the water facilities in your area and the small town pipe system”. He was impressed with what he observed on the field but noted there is a long way to go “to get the systems going and sustainable in terms of technical and financial sustainability”.