Professor Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa, Vice-Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has called for consistency in the maintenance of the country’s water systems.
This, he said had become necessary to tackle the growing rate at which water and sanitation facilities provided for the communities are becoming dysfunctional.
He was addressing the opening session of the fourth international research workshop in Kumasi, to identify information, develop approaches and recommendations to promote access to acceptable levels of water, sanitation and hygienic services by people in the rural and peri-urban areas.
WASHCost Project Ghana, a research organisation, is hosting the five-day meeting with participants drawn from Ghana, the Netherlands, India, Mozambique and Burkina Faso.
“Quantifying the cost of delivering safe water, sanitation and hygiene,” is the theme.
According to official estimates, one in every three boreholes fitted with hand-pumps are not working in Africa. Additionally, most of the boreholes last for only three years instead of the designed life time of 20 years.
Prof Adarkwa said it was time that providers of water and sanitation services in developing countries developed what he termed “life-cycle cost approach” in their operations to improve the quality of their services.
This should involve routine maintenance of social amenities, strengthening the skills and capacities of professionals and technicians for the sustainability of projects.
Dr Kwabena Nyarko, Country Director of WASHCost Project Ghana, said access to water and sanitation services are not just critical to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals but a prerequisite for economic development.
He underlined the need for accurate information, especially for rural and peri- urban areas to make it possible to estimate the true cost of extending sustainable and good quality water and sanitation services to the poor.