Water is scarce in northern Ghana. In Chereponi District, for instance, only about a third of the 63,000 inhabitants have access to clean drinking water. Groundwater and rivers are contaminated with germs from the uncontrolled disposal of waste, causing cholera or diarrhoea, and the excessively high fluoride content in the water also causes tooth decay.
The German Water and Energy Group (GWE) has been building its technical expertise in water treatment and renewable energy for many years. Two of GWE’s companies, Bauer Water and GWE pumpenboese GmbH, joined forces to develop a solar-powered system that treats contaminated water to produce clean drinking water. It was put to use for the first time in Chereponi District – and was a success.
GWE’s key cooperation partner was the Ghanaian Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), the country’s regulatory and inspection authority responsible for water supply in rural areas.
The partners trained staff from the local district authority and the regulatory body CSWA to operate the plant, and drew up a pricing strategy for plant operation. At the handover of the plant they explained to the population why clean drinking water has its price by presenting a stage play and a film, which also described the technology. The response has been positive, not only from the people but also from the CWSA: ‘The pilot plant is the best solution to our water problem’ said John Aduakye, Assistant Director of the Agency’s Northern Region Office.
‘We have shown that the water treatment plant works and can operate with its own energy supply. This has attracted a great deal of interest among potential customers. We have also benefited enormously from GIZ’s knowledge of local partners and structures.’