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We Cannot Afford To Lose Our Water Resources - Cecilia Dapaah

Mrs Cecilia Dapaah, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, has condemn practices that was gradually putting the "lives" of many of the country's water resources in jeopardy.

She said practices such as dumping of refuse in streams, rivers, filling swarms and other reserves for housing, pollution through illegal mining and other forms of ungodly behaviours was greatly affecting the sustainability of the over 53 billion cubic surface water that the country had.

The Minister said, "How can we do such evil to our present generation and the children after us...water is life and sanitation is dignity and as a people, we must be conscious of the reality and stop harming our very source of existence".

Mrs Dapaah said this at the opening of the Mole XXX conference in Ho, the capital of the Volta Region under the theme:"30 Years of WASH Dialogue: Reflections and Prospects”.

The Mole XXX Conference, spearheaded by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and with platinum sponsors such UNICEF, World Vision, Embassy of the Netherlands, Zoomlion lion and GAMA SWP, brought together people from academia, water and sanitation engineers, operators in the water and sanitation sector, environmentalists, health practitioners and some members of the Ghana WASH Journalists Network to reflect on WASH activities in the past thirty years, think through the present and strategize for the future of WASH in Ghana.

The conference reviewed the current sector landscape and identified contextual issues for reflections, stimulated dialogue on best practices and promised solutions and developed an agenda in partnership with key sector leaders to set agreed policy recommendations.

The sector Minister noted that the various reforms in the sector was critical to lifting the sector up as the country worked to achieve the SDGs six, "one of the keys in the reforms is the rural water supply".

She, therefore, entreated Ghanaians to protect and preserve water sources, adding, "We need to be a custodian of these natural assets and grooves for our own good".

Dr Mawuena Dotse, an expert in the WASH sector who bisected the theme, noted that the significant contributions of the WASH Mole conference to the development of basic water, sanitation, hygiene services as well as major policy decision; the establishment of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), which was purely mandated to regulate rural water and sanitation projects.

Currently, the CWSA was undergoing some organisational reforms in terms of the management of their facilities in the rural communities to enable the company perform better within its mandate, he said, adding that, the change within the management process of the CWSA.

Turning attention to the WASH sector, he preached against the over-concentration on low-cost technology and poor data management in the sector which hampered effective planning and service delivery.

The WASH expert also called for good financial resources into the sector for accelerated service delivery.

The sub-themes for the Conference include: Drinking Water and Integrated Water Resources Management, Improved Sanitation and Hygiene, Governance and Institutional Development and Technology, Innovations and Private Sector Participation.

Togbe Kotoku, the Chairman for the occasion, called back the spirit of volunteerism, responsibility and communal living, to avoid some of the ills taking hold of society, "we need to protect our communities…".

Mr Martin Dery, Chairman of CONIWAS, described sanitation issues as an emergency which called for critical attention by players in the industry.

He, on the other hand, expressed gratitude to the Ministry for reactivating the Sector Working Group and called them to clearly define strategies and pathways for all actors to follow.

Mr Dery said the watchdog role of CSOs and the interest of the public was imperative in the sanitation services delivery to raise the bar of protection for the vulnerable in the society.