Safeguarding Water Quality in Ghanaian Communities

Content Manager • 1 January 2019

      Along with the sustainable access to water, water quality remains one of the biggest challenges for rural, peri-urban and small-town communities in Ghana. However, while the country has seen remarkable improvements in the first area, water quality requirements have been largely unmet and little commitment is made in this regard by responsible parties.  

      In response to the SDGPP’s Innovation Challenge Call on creating an adaptable participatory model to standardize water system quality control in rural, peri-urban and small towns in Ghana, Training Research and Networking for Development (TREND) has been selected as one of the three winning Innovators to test co-designing and co-implementation of the Water Safety Plans in selected rural / peri-urban areas.     

Project Description and Objective:

      This project sought to promote the concept of Water Safety Plan (WSP) as a key strategy for improving water services delivery in Ghana. The WSPs were developed through a participatory process and piloted in selected communities (such as rural areas and small towns) with a total population of up to 3000 people within the Central region of Ghana. Additional support and capacity building were rendered to ensure the full adoption and implementation of WSPs. The whole process of project implementation was carefully documented to form a basis for the development of knowledge products (such as case studies and sector guidelines) which will be further disseminated at the national and district workshops. Baseline Reports have been developed, WSP committees in the selected communities have been established, and district and community WSP teams have been formed, trained and introduced to respective local authorities. A multi-stakeholder engagement strategy covering regional, district and community levels has been developed and adopted.

Major Results Achieved:

  • 2 WSPs in AchiaseAsamakese (small town water system community) and Adadientem No. 2 and 2B (Point Source Community) developed and implemented using participatory approach; 
  • 50 stakeholders (10 from District Assembly, 20 from Water Safety Planning Teams, 20 from Water Safety Management Teams) enhanced their capacities to fully adopt and implement WSPs;
  • 100 households sensitized about water safety, hygiene, household water treatment and safe storage;
  • 500+ pupils educated about water safety, proper sanitation and hygiene, hand washing with soap;
  • 5 new districts within the Central Region sensitized on the need for WSPs.

Major SDG Acceleration Lever:  

      Encouraging good governance (developing and implementing Water Safety Plans at the community levels), changing behaviors (increased ownership for water safety among the local communities’ members)

Lessons Learned and Way Forward:

      WSP is an integrated approach, which draws on issues related to water quality, sanitation, hygiene and health, and hence should be implemented using a systems approach. Baseline setting, water quality testing, and capacity building of stakeholders represent critical activities for every WSP process. Water Safety is very high in the country’s agenda. Opportunities for scale up exist at all levels: national, regional, district, with a potential to benefit 26 M people within 4 years. TREND’s scale-up strategy is based on the current and on-going national efforts towards the promotion and adoption of WSP as the major tool in ensuring drinking water quality.

Media Coverage and Knowledge Products:

About TREND:
The Training, Research and Networking for Development (TREND) Group was established in April 1989 as a component of a UNDP-sponsored, World Bank executed project called the "Low-cost Human Waste Management Project in Kumasi". Later, in 1995, as a key resource Centre dedicated to the development of the WASH Sector, TREND Group has evolved into an autonomous self-sustaining organisation with Head Office in Accra and was registered as a company limited by guarantee.
TREND Group is committed to capacity building for the delivery and sustainable management of water, environmental sanitation and IWRM services in Ghana, particularly to the majority of people who live in rural areas and low-income urban areas.
For more information, please visit 

Photo credit: Axel Fassio / CIFOR