Revising National Standards for Rural Water Supply

Content Manager • 1 January 2019

      Assessed against the criteria of remoteness (within 500 meters from the farthest household) and service capacity (providing up to 20 liters per capita per day), rural water coverage in Ghana currently stands at 79%, having met the MDG target of 76% in 2015. However, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals raises the bar beyond universal access. The discussion is now built around the services within the compound of households, rather than boreholes located in 500 meters. In addition, water must be safely managed, thus factoring in the issues of quality. Based on these new standards, the % of rural populations that has been adequately covered will fall from 79% to less than 8%. This presents a big challenge for the country as a whole.   

Project Description and Objective:

      This project aimed to support universal Free and Affordable Access to Water in Ghana by revising national standards for rural water supply reflecting the SDG indicators for safely managed water services and universal coverage. The existing boreholes in rural areas were analyzed to determine which ones had sufficient yields to enable mechanization and piping to households. Mechanization of the qualified boreholes was costed, and a comprehensive budget for the investments was developed. The revised national standards were presented and discussed at two multi-stakeholder events in 2018. Additionally, the completed costing and budget were used to advocate for more financing from the Government to the Community Water and Sanitation Agency to deliver services to households at their doorstep.

Major Results Achieved:

  • 60+ organizations (including government, international organizations, the private sector, CSO, media, and the like.) convened in a multi-stakeholder dialogue on “Revisiting National Water and Sanitation Standards to Align with the Sustainable Development Goal 6”;
  • Sample Assessment and Costing of Boreholes for Mechanization Towards Achievement of Water Targets of the Sustainable Development Goals in Ghana completed for West Maprusi district;
  • 7 strategic and 23 specific recommendations to various stakeholders towards the achievement of the SDG targets on water developed;
  • The 28th Mole Conference (major multi-stakeholder platform within the WASH sector in Ghana) organized to advocate for sustainable and equitable financing of WASH services delivery, discuss various methods, strategies and mechanisms to provide WASH services to poor and marginalized people and groups in deprived communities, as well as develop recommendations for policy advocacy and influencing.

Expected Impact: Encouraging good governance and influencing public policy      

Lessons Learned and Way Forward:

      CONIWAS has succeeded in advancing the multi-stakeholder discussions on the alignment of the National Water and Sanitation Standards with the SDG Goal 6.1. Further steps will include convening and advocating for:

  • searching for alternative sources of financing in WASH sector;
  • developing clear pro-poor targeting strategy;
  • advancing strategies for private sector participation;
  • advancing options for institutional and structural reforms in WASH;
  • linking WASH to the Government’s other priorities (health, education, infrastructure and jobs) and capacity development of WASH CSOs.  

Media Coverage and Knowledge Products:

CONIWAS stands for the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation. It has been established in response to the absence of a clear mechanism for gathering and disseminating the growing experiences of NGOs in the sector. With its head office in Accra, CONIWAS also has coordinators for the Northern, Middle and Southern zones. The organization works closely with the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) in Ghana, while other major partners include donor agencies like, DANIDACIDAEuropean UnionWaterAid GhanaUNICEF, etc.
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Photo credit: Nina May