Water and Sanitation
The availability and accessibility to improved drinking water is an important aspect of the health of household members. The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG6) targets to ‘achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations by 2030’. This target places an enormous task on Ghana and for that matter Abuakwa North to work extra hard on the provision of potable water and sanitation facilities with the view to increasing coverage in the short, medium to long term.
Access to Water
Access to water in the Municipality is estimated at 72 %. The rural water coverage is however a little lower at 62%. The 2010 Population Census identified about five main sources of water available to households in the municipality ranging from pipe born to sachet water. The report indicates that about 60% of households in the municipality either use bore-hole (30.4%), river/stream (15.9%) or protected well (13.7%) as the main source of drinking, while about a quarter depends either on Public tap/Standpipe, pipe-borne outside or inside dwelling.
The least proportion of households uses unprotected spring (0.1%) as the main source of drinking water. At the locality level however, protected well (19.6%), pipe-borne outside dwelling (18.4%) and bore-hole/pump/tube well (16.6%) are the three main sources of drinking water for urban localities whereas, about 80% of rural households depend either on bore-hole/pump/tube well (52.3%) or river/stream (29.6%). This is an indication that even though water coverage may be high, the source and quality of drinking water available to the population is below the acceptable standard.
In terms of institutions in charge of water supply, the Ghana Water Company Limited continue to dominate in the water supply subsector followed by the Municipal Assembly who, with the support of funding partners such as DANIDA, ADRA and ORAP, has sung a number of boreholes in especially rural communities.
The continuous supply of portable water in sufficient quantities at all times is a basic requirement for human survival and economic development. Water coverage in the municipality is encouraging. However, it could be somewhat superficial and an exaggeration owing to the fact that the yield of some of the boreholes and hand dug wells used in computing the water coverage reduces drastically during the dry season.
Pipe borne water from Ghana Water Company constitutes just a little over 30% of water supply for the 4 urban communities of Kukurantumi, New Tafo, Old Tafo and Osiem. This is also bedeviled with production and distribution challenges which results in irregular supply and complaints of overbilling.
A number of households therefore resort to the construction of hand dug wells some of which are used as backup facilities. In 2016 and first quarter of 2017, the turbidity level of the Birim was so high so much so that the Ghana Water Company Limited was left with no option than to shut down operations after operating on half capacity with high input cost for over a year. The situation exposed residents to water-related diseases as most of them depended on streams for domestic uses.
Water supply in the rural communities is still inadequate as most of the boreholes that were drilled have either broken down or have high iron content. Coupled with this, the non-mechnisation of rural water facilities make access to water inadequate and time consuming. The drastic change in the rainfall pattern has also made rain harvesting and storage unsustainable while affecting agricultural production.
The collaborative efforts of stakeholders such as the Municipal Assembly, Water Resource Commission, Mineral Commission, EPA and NGOs are required to address the underlying drivers for water pollution and shortage in order to improve water security in the municipality.
Access to Sanitation
Bathing and toilet facilities are an efficient and hygienic method of human waste disposal. A toilet is a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human excrement and urine and sometimes for tampons. Availability of toilet and bath is a critical indicator of the sanitary condition and an indirect measure of the socio-economic status of household.
Available records show that only 6.6% (6516) of the population use household water closet facility whereas 3.3% (3280) use pit latrine. There are 26 approved public toilets in use comprising 14 W.Cs, 6 Enviro loos, 6 KVIPs. Together they potentially serve a population of 8528 (8.7%). The total coverage of approved liquid waste disposal facilities is 62.7% of the population translating into a total of 61,456.
This implies that about 36,552 (37.3%) use unapproved facilities such as pit latrines, sceptic tanks and the open field. Generally, the existence of open defecation is a matter of grave concern to the Assembly because of the health implications on the citizens. To adequately cover the unserved population with approved facilities will require the provision of at least 60 number of 16-Seater approved public toilet facilities by the year 2021. This is however not feasible and as the policy of government is to rather promote household latrines at the expense of public ones.
The Ghana First Company Limited is currently constructing a number of public and modern water closets at various public places and in some cases within deprived communities. The Municipal Assembly will therefore focus on the provision of institutional toilet facilities and promotion of household toilets through education and enforcement.
The fact that most of the households use public toilets, pit latrines or go to toilet in the bush is indeed an invitation to public health hazards which requires intensified hygiene education and prosecution. The Assembly must develop a targeted policy of subsidizing the construction of household latrines as part of the efforts of reducing the practice of open defecation. There is the need to promote gender friendly school environment by providing institutional toilets and handwashing facilities to basic schools that lack such facilities and ensure open defecation free status within the plan period.
There are four main sources of household bathing facilities in the municipality. Majority (39.3%) of households share separate bathrooms in the same house with other households in the dwellings. Also, about a quarter (25.8%) own bathroom for exclusive use while a fifth (20.6%) use shared open cubicle. The characteristic of bathing facilities available to households do not differ at the locality level. Almost half (45.2%) of both urban and rural households share separate bathrooms in the same house with other households while about 30% of both localities use own exclusive bathroom. Furthermore, it is observed that a significant proportion (4.4%) of households bath in an open space around house. There is no public bath house in the municipality hence an investment in such services by the private sector will be highly lucrative.
Method of Waste Disposal
Solid waste disposal
About half (50.2%) of households in the municipality disposes off their solid waste at public dumps (open space), 23% burn their solid waste while those disposing their solid waste at public dump (container) constitutes 9.0 percent. A similar pattern of solid waste disposal is observed in all localities. However, indiscriminate disposal of solid waste is more common in the rural areas (10.8%) compared to urban areas (3.4%) in the municipality. There is no engineered landfill site to manage solid waste. The Assembly will therefore prioritise such a facility in the Plan while leveling of refuse dumps will continue as a temporal measure in collaboration with the private sector.
Liquid waste disposal
Disposal of liquid waste in the municipality needs attention. Available data reveals that about 88.8% of households in the municipality either dispose their liquid waste onto their compounds, on the street/outside or into gutter while less than one percent using the sewerage system. The situation is similar at the locality level, but obviously worse in the rural localities than urban. However disposal of liquid waste into gutters is observed to be more common among urban households compared to rural households comprising 25.3% as against 21.9%.
This may be attributed to inadequate drainage infrastructure in the rural areas compared to the urban areas. Challenges with liquid waste disposal are the non-existence of an engineered final disposal site as well as chocked and dilapidated drainage systems. In most cases too, drainage systems are non-existent. There is therefore the need for the desilting, rehabilitation and construction of new drainage systems.
Date Created : 3/25/2019 6:14:06 AM