All about CWSA and the NCWSP

All about CWSA and the NCWSP

Read all you ever wanted to know about the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and the National community Water and Sanitation Porgramme (NCWSP). This article is based on the brochure on this subject prepared by CWSA.

The text you will find below is based on a brochure on the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and the National community Water and Sanitation Porgramme (NCWSP), prepared by CWSA.


  • CWSA operates in all the 10 regions of Ghana
  • The NCWSP is being implemented in 128 districts
  • Total beneficiary communities area little over 13, 645 nationwide



  • The functions of the Agency are to:
  • Provide technical support for to District Assemblies to :
    • promote the sustainability of safe water supply and related sanitation services in rural communities and small towns;
    • enable the Assemblies encourage the active involvement of communities, especially women, in the design, planning, construction and community management of water and sanitation project
  • formulate strategies for the effective mobilization of resources for the execution of safe water development and related sanitation programmes.
  • encourage private sector participation in the provision safe drinking water supply and related sanitation service
  • provide District Assembly with technical assistance in the planning and execution of water development and sanitation in the districts
  • assist and co-ordinate with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) engaged in the development of water and sanitation and hygiene education in rural communities and small towns
  • initiate and pursue in collaboration with the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, Science and Environment, Health and Education and Sports , formal and non formal education programmes for public awareness in rural communities and small towns of water related hazards
  • prescribe standards and guidelines for safe water supply and provision of related sanitation services in rural communities and small towns and support the District Assemblies to ensure compliance by the suppliers of the services
  • charge reasonable fees for services provided
  • collaborate with such international agencies as the Agency considers necessary in the execution of its mandate
  • perform any other functions assigned to it by Act 564.


As a public sector organization, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, operates under the policy direction of the Ministry of Works and Housing. The Agency is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors, including the Chief Executive, with the oversight responsibility of policy formulation and ensuring the implementation of the functions of the Agency. The Chief Executive, as the administrative head of the Agency, is responsible for the direction of the work of the CWSA as well as the day-to-day administration of the Agency. He also ensures the implementation of the decisions of the Board. He is assisted by a Senior Management Team made up fourteen directors, ten at the regional level and four at the Head Office. There are four directorates at the Head Office, namely: Technical Services, Finance, Administration and Human Resource Development, and Planning and Investments. The Chief Executive’s Secretariat is made up the Audit and Public Relations Units, an Executive Assistant and a Confidential Secretary to the Chief Executive. These Units report directly to the Chief Executive. The Directors at the Head Office and Regional Offices are assisted by a core of highly skilled senior and support staff with varied educational and professional backgrounds.


CWSA has links with organizations within the water sector such as; Water Resources Commission, Water Research Institute, Ghana Water Company Ltd, the Ministries of Health, Education, Finance and Economic Planning, Local Government and Rural Development, Ghana Standards Board, the Environmental Protection Agency, External Support Agencies, Partner Organisations (consultants, contractors), NGOs, the District Assemblies and the beneficiary Communities in rural and small towns.


The Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), is committed to effective facilitation of the provision of sustainable potable water and related sanitation services as well as hygiene promotion to rural communities and small towns through resource mobilization, capacity building, standards setting and quality assurance with the active participation of all stakeholders.


CWSA aspires to be a highly effective and professional organization working harmoniously with development partners to deliver sustainable potable water and improved sanitation services to all rural communities and small towns in Ghana.


Targets and Objectives

Program Target :Increase coverage to 85% by 2015 (SIP)


  • To improve access to water and sanitation services for rural communities and small towns in Ghana
  • Ensure the sustainability of water and sanitation facilities provided
  • Maximize health benefits by integrating water, sanitation and hygiene promotion


  • Demand Responsive Approach
  • Decentralized Planning, Implementation and management
  • Community ownership and management
  • Community contribution to capital cost
  • Private sector provision of goods and services
  • Public Sector facilitation
  • Integration of hygiene promotion with provision of Water and Sanitation facilities
  • Gender mainstreaming at all levels
  • Collaboration and coordination with relevant stakeholders


The policy thrust of the national program is the Community Ownership and Management (COM) of the water and sanitation facilities installed in the beneficiary communities and the use of the private sector to support the process.


The NCWSP project cycle consists of the following stages:

  • community mobilisation and sensitisation
  • health and hygiene promotion
  • participatory planning, design & construction
  • operation and maintenance, and
  • monitoring and evaluation.


The CWSA Head Office, CWSA Regional Water and Sanitation Teams (RWSTs), the District Assemblies (DAs) and District Water and Sanitation Teams (DWSTs), manage the Programme at the National, Regional and District levels respectively.


Cost Sharing Arrangement between donor and beneficiaries of the project is as follows:

  • External Support Agency – 90%
  • District Assembly (GoG) – 5%
  • Beneficiary Community – 5%

TECHNOLOGY and construction

Different types of water supply and sanitation options are provided

  • Point Sources (boreholes/hand-dug wells)
  • Small Towns Pipe Schemes
  • Rain Harvest Plants
  • Household/Institutional Latrines

The construction of the physical facilities is handled by Private companies and Artisans as stipulated in Act 564.


  • WATSANs, Pump Caretakers and Area Mechanics maintain the point source facilities
  • Water and Sanitation Development Boards (WSDBs) and Private Sector take care of the Pipe Schemes


The Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing is responsible for:

  • Setting water policies for the country,
  • Resource management and drinking water supply (both urban and rural),
  • Formulation of strategies, coordination of budget, monitoring and evaluation,
  • Inter-sector and sub-sector coordination,
  • Donor management,
  • Sector investment, planning and advocacy.

Development partners and donors are to:

  • Provide financial & material support for implementation of the NCWSP
  • Participate in policy dialogue & lessons sharing
  • Provide technical assistance to the Ministry, CWSA, & District Assemblies
  • Participate in Monitoring & evaluation and studies on thematic issues.

The CWSA Head Office

  • Recommends policies to Sector Ministry and define strategies, procedures and standards for community water supply and sanitation,
  • sources funds both nationally and internationally for NCWSP
  • provides back-up support to regional CWSA offices for monitoring and evaluation
  • disseminates sector policies to all stakeholders


At the Sub-Project level, the following steps are taken towards project implementation:

  • The Ministry and CWSA source funds on basis of investment programme
  • Donor (some) carries out project appraisal
  • Donor and CWSA agree on implementation procedures
  • Final document is submitted to the Sector Ministry for approval
  • Then the Ministry Of Finance and the Donor Government sign the project agreement
  • The Sector Ministry and CWSA sign subsidiary agreement with Ministry Of Finance (in some cases)


  • The MWRWH & MLGRD handle the overall policy formulation for water and sanitation.
  • The CWSA executes the policies. The Agency is also responsible for the overall programme management including administration, planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation.
  • The CWSA Regional Offices have the overall responsibility for programme implementation and management at the regional level and backstopping other role players.
  • The District Assembly and the District Water & Sanitation Team are the Local Authority responsible for programme implementation at the district level
  • The Community, the WATSAN and the WSDB participate in the planning, construction, operation and maintenance (O&M) of the water facilities. The Committees manage communities inputs to the project and the long term O&M.


  • Partner Organisations (Private Sector) support the strengthening of community organisational capacity, leading the planning process, implementing hygiene education and promotion as well as establishing community operation and maintenance capacity.
  • C ontractors and Latrine Artisans construct Boreholes, Hand-Dug-Wells and Latrines, while the Building Contractors construct facilities according to specifications.
  • Area Mechanics, private firms and individual mechanics provide facility repair and maintenance services for fee from beneficiary communities.
  • Spare parts Suppliers retail parts for water facilities. A national supply network system supplies parts for the standardised hand pumps. The supply outlets have been zoned into three, with Tamale supplying the Northern Sector, Kumasi for the Central and Takoradi for the Southern Sector.
  • The Consultants provide technical assistance especially in the areas of training and training materials development, as well as special studies.


When a donor announces an intention to enter a particular region to provide a number and type(s) of water and sanitation facilities, the following activities are carried through to select beneficiary communities:

1.The programme is launched in the region and all the processes and procedures are explained especially, the demand-responsive-approach concept to potential beneficiaries. These include:

  • Community readiness to contribute to the investment of the water facility which is also an indication of their ability to operate and maintain the facility after delivery and,
  • Community readiness to operate and manage the facilities after handing over
  • The target audience here will include the regional political heads, stakeholders, district political heads, opinion leaders, donors and CWSA staff etc

2. Following this, the programme is also launched in the district by the District Assembly (DA) and again all the processes and procedures are explained especially on the demand responsiveness of potential beneficiaries, community contribution and O&M.

3. Thereafter, the communities meet and discuss their interest in the facility. They will then apply to the District Assembly for a facility of their choice and show evidence of responsiveness (ability to pay 5% capital contribution, maintain and manage after delivery) by making a deposit of their counterpart contribution into an account in the bank.

4.The DAs will evaluate the applications and assess the communities through the preparation of a community profile to ensure their ability to contribute, maintain, operate and manage the facilities.

5.The DAs then shortlist the communities to benefit annually using an established general criteria agreed upon by all parties such as evidence of a deposit of an agreed amount in a bank, population size, existing facilities, current community economic activities, existing community initiated development projects, absence of conflicts such as land, chieftaincy and ethnic disputes, etc.

6. After this, the District Assembly will conduct feasibility studies in short- listed communities to establish sources of water, cost of the various services: pipe system, point source etc.

7. The DAs will then make the final selection of communities after a general meeting in the communities during which all community members are present. The final selection is based on the following:

  • chose a service based on willingness to pay and acceptance of responsibility to manage, operate and maintain the system,
  • show effective demand in terms of willingness to contribute to capital cost backed by evidence of financial strength (bank statement)
  • payment of half (2.5%) of capital cost contribution before drilling
  • commitment to make land available and transfer ownership to community

8. After the above, the communities are animated and sensitized on all possible ways of generating income to support and maintain the facility.

9. Water and Sanitation Development Boards (WSDB) and WATSAN Committees are formed and trained to operate and manage Small Towns Systems and Point Sources (boreholes) respectively.


The NCWSP is faced with some hard challenges, which it needs to overcome to be able to forge ahead with its mission.These challenges include the following:

  • Non-enactment of local Government Service Act - non-existence of the Works Department at DA level
  • Low sanitation coverage
  • Inadequate capacity of the private sector for effective participation in the sector
  • Non conformity of some NGOs to the national strategy by some NGOs
  • Inability of DAs to honour their 5% capital cost contribution
  • High percentage capital cost contribution especially for small town water facilities;
  • Uncoordinated grants/loans in water sector
  • Inadequate annual budgetary allocation from government
  • Fund attraction & management for program acceleration
  • Facilitation of sector capacity building:
  • Designing a Monitoring & Evaluation system for effective program management
  • Building up and sustaining capacity in DAs and Private Sector (including NGOs) to promote and manage the Program


There is a high sense of good will in the donor community towards the sector and the national approach for the rural water sub-sector.The current political dispensation in the country’s development program as captured in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (2003-2005) lays emphasis on the provision of potable water to contribute to the alleviation of rural poverty.

There are a number of on-going projects supported by the Government and External Support Agencies in the community water and sanitation sub sector.These include:

  • CIDA intervention in seven (7) districts in the eastern corridor of the Northern region (NORWASP) for the provision of 700 water points and 7, 000 household sanitation facilities and to strengthen support institutions for the sustainability of delivered facilities– 1999 – 2006 (Cdn$16, 768 million)
  • IDA Small Towns Water and Sanitation for the Upper East, Upper West, Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Western and Central regions for pipe water supply and hygiene education promotion for 500, 000 people – 2005-2008 at US$26 million.
  • KFW/GTZ assistance to Eastern and Volta Regions (EVORAP) for 33 towns for the rehabilitation of systems transferred to the DAs by GWCL at DM15 million
  • KFW RWSP4 Euro 11.51 million support for the drilling of 1000 boreholes and 2000 latrines in the Ashanti Region – 2004-2007.
  • DANIDA District Based Water and Sanitation Component of the Sector Programme Support Phase II Project for Eastern, Volta, Central and Greater Accra regions for theconstruction of 15 Point Sources, 20 Piped Schemes and 20,000 latrines at DKK 271, 695 million
  • ADB support for the delivery of 806 water points and 2 piped schemes in 5 districts in the Ashanti region at US$19.7 million – 2004-2008


  • Monitoring trends in implementation
  • Policy advise to government;